Walbec Group

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1st Street Bascule Bridge

The South 1st Street Bascule Bridge project spans the Kinnickinnic River between Maple and Becher Streets in the City of Milwaukee. Built in 1957, it was severely deteriorated and in need of rehabilitation. At $8.7 million, it highlights the complexity of a movable bridge. A similar-sized movable bridge project would have been closer to $1-2 million to replace. As a historical landmark in the heart of Milwaukee, this newly refurbished bridge strengthens the community for years to come.


  • Demolition of the existing bridge and all related components.
  • Structural, electrical, and mechanical components were updated.
  • Maintained the historically significant aspect of the structure.
  • Improved the roadway approach to the bridge, bridge house, and enhanced the bridge lighting.
  • Added two bike lanes and maintained a navigable waterway throughout the duration of the project.


  • Our experienced ZTI team was essential to the success of this project. Our expert crew of movable bridge professionals have worked on 13 lift bridges such as the St. Paul lift bridge, Pleasant Street lift bridge in Milwaukee, and the Sturgeon Bay Bridge in Door County.
  • As with every project, the team worked smart and safe by installing a platform underneath the closed leaf to help with safe and efficient access during the painting and installation of new steel.
  • By collaborating as a team, we were able to implement innovative solutions such as developing a cofferdam system that allowed for performing underwater repairs to the front face of the piers.
  • The team was also required to install the new drive machinery to tolerances of +/- 1/32”. Our partnership with OSM Engineering, a supplier/consultant from Minnesota with extensive experience in mechanical and machinery systems, was essential to meeting that requirement.



Milwaukee, WI


November 2018