I bet a CE I know from Lodge that the bascule span of the James E. Groppi Unity Bridge (a.k.a. 16th St. Viaduct) was no longer in operable condition. I was half-right.
I called Milwaukee DPW’s Bridge Operations line. They directed me to their supervisor. I asked him to settle the bet. He said that I lost since the mechanism is still in working order although the bridge hasn’t opened in years because river is too shallow past Emmber Lane for any large ships. He said they have a back-burner project to dredge the river to stimulate commercial shipping on the western end of the Menomonee but there’s been no action taken on that yet.
So I lost the bet. Or did I?
The nice supervisor called me back about 10 minutes later and said that he had reviewed the maintenance records and noted that, in fact, although the mechanism is in proper functioning order, there’d be a two-hour delay if the bridge needed to be opened as the spans were welded together. This was done, he said, to make the ride smoother for vehicles driving across, and since it’s been years since there’s been any opening requests for it.
So I’m half-right. The bridge is in operable condition at a two-hour notice.