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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
6th Street Viaduct, North Span
6th Street Rail Line Crossing At Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee 6th Street Viaduct

• Bridge: 6th Street Viaduct (North Span)
• Structure ID: NBI B400414000C0000
• City: Milwaukee
• State: Wisconsin
• Country: USA
• Carries: 6th Street
• Crosses: Rail Line
• Date Opened: September 1, 2002
• Total Length: 574 Feet
• Longest Span: 195 Feet
• Tower Height: 142 Feet
• Deck Width: 81 Feet
• Number Of Lanes: 4
• Number Of Spans: 1
• Height Above Railroad:
• Traffic Count: 17,750 (2000)
Over the past century, the Menomonee River Valley, which runs east and west through the heart of Milwaukee, was an industrial wasteland. The land was either used for dirty heavy industry, or it was contaminated brownfields. The industry declined through the last 30 years of the 20th century, leaving the area prime for redevelopment.

The problem with redevelopment was that Milwaukee in the past simply hid this area by building bridges that completely spanned the Menomonee River Valley. People drove over it never giving it a second look. What was needed was to replace these overpasses with a new road system that tied the river valley into the rest of the city.

The first chance came with the replacement of the 6th Street Viaduct. The old structure was at the end of its life. It was replaced with a set of signature bridges consisting of two cable stayed spans and two draw spans. The structures cross two river channels and three main rail lines. The result is that 6th Street now crosses the north cable stayed span to cross two rail lines and drop into the valley, then crosses the two river channels on draw bridges, and climbs back out of the valley crossing the final rail line on the second cable stay span. By bringing the road down in to the valley, redevelopment of the older industrial sites has hit high gear. Old railroad warehouses are now highly sought after loft spaces or commercial office space. This is a great example of how the right bridges can tie a community together and spur positive development. In fact, Harley Davidson was so impressed with this area that they rebuilding their new motorcycle museum on this crossing between the two river channels.

The structure on this page is the northern cable stay span. It crosses under the I-94 freeway, runs past the central post office, near the Amtrack passenger station, and over the Amtrack rail line.

Milwaukee 6th Street Viaduct
Milwaukee 6th Street Viaduct
Milwaukee 6th Street Viaduct

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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