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After more than a year, the 1st Street Bridge will reopen to traffic on Friday. (PHOTO: Joe Vent)

1st Street Bridge is reopening, that's worth celebrating

On Friday at 3:15 p.m., Mayor Tom Barrett and Alds Jose Perez and Tony Zielinski will lead a toast to celebrate the re-opening of the South 1st Street Bascule Bridge over the Kinnickinnic River, just north of the Lincoln Warehouse.

The bridge was closed since July 2017 for work that, according to the Department of Public Works website, included, "demolition of the bridge and related components. Improvements to the bridge (were) made to the existing structural, electrical, and mechanical components" of the bridge, which was erected in 1957.

"The project also includes improvements to the roadway approach to the bridge and the bridge house, and aesthetic enhancements such as lighting on the bridge. Two solid surface lanes will be added to accommodate bicyclists. A navigable waterway (was) maintained for the duration of the project."

The rehabilitated bridge sits adjacent to the site of Michels' recently announced R1ver development along the KK River in the southern part of the city's Harbor District.

In addition to the toast (4-1-4, let's have one more!), the bridge completion ceremony will also include music and Transfer pizza, compliments of Enlightened Brewing Company, Sven Pro and the Lincoln Warehouse.

The ceremony will be held on the south approach to the bridge, but note that the bridge will be in the up position and will be lowered after the event. So, if you're coming from the north, remember to take an alternate route to the ceremony.

Why all the hoopla when the city seems to constantly be working on a bridge somewhere in town (the Wells Street Bridge is still being completed)? Who knows, but, hey, free Transfer pizza!

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