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Anderson Bridges part of $3.6 million Cannonball Path project in Madison

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  Colfax already has a church in Madison — and now we will have a bridge.

Anderson Bridges of Colfax shipped out the first section of a 550-foot steel footbridge headed to Madison on August 15.

The 17-foot wide bridge will be hauled to Madison in six different sections, said Ashley Anderson of Anderson Bridges.

The bridge is part of the $3.6 million Phase 3 of the Cannonball Path project in Madison.

B&K Trucking out of Marathon will be hauling the bridge through Colfax, to Wheeler, up to state Highway 64 to Glenwood City to state Highway 128, taking all back roads and smaller roads to get to Madison rather than taking I-94, Anderson explained.

“It will be an interesting route,” he said.

In addition to Anderson, the business includes his father, John Anderson, and Kory Weathers, Ashley Anderson’s brother-in-law.

Two additional sections of the bridge will be hauled next week, another section the week after and the other two sections will go to Madison after Labor Day weekend.

“It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” Anderson said.

“Overall, it will take us about three months from start to finish (to build the bridge),” he said.

The middle sections of the bridge — each 180 feet long — will be installed first.

“They will be putting those up the night of the 28th. They are actually shutting down Highway 12 — the Beltline around Madison — they will be shutting it down to be able to put up the bridge,” Anderson said.

One of few

Only about seven companies in the United States build bridges like those constructed at Anderson Bridges in Colfax.

Anderson said he has bridges in Oregon, Maine, Texas and in Wisconsin.

“The reason that the bridge is being built this big is because we are in state. Nobody else would be able to ship (a bridge this big) across state lines … it worked out for us because we are in state,” Anderson said.

Two of the other bridge companies are in Minnesota in Shakopee and Alexandria. The remaining companies are spread around the United States, including Colorado and New York.

Anderson Bridges employs six people full-time as well as other part-time workers as needed.


The bridge from Anderson Bridges is a key part of Phase 3 of the Cannonball Path project in Madison.

According to the City of Madison’s website, the Phase 3 Beltline overpass “is a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Beltline Highway and its frontage road … the bridge is the key piece of the overall 4+ mile Cannonball Path, a major new commuter route linking areas of Fitchburg and Arbor Hills neighborhood with downtown Madison. The overall Cannonball Path project is a joint effort between Madison and Fitchburg, with land acquisition partially funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison is the lead agency for the Phase 3 project, which will be constructed by WisDOT and partially funded under the SMIP program with Federal Enhancement funds. When completed, the path will connect neighborhoods with parks, schools, major conservancy areas as well as retail, commercial and employment centers. It also connects to the Capital City Trail, Southwest Path, Military Ridge Trail and Badger State Trail, making it a key component of the regional network of paths for recreation as well as transportation.”

According to the City of Madison website, out of the total construction cost of $3.6 million for Phase 3, $2.03 will come from Federal Enhancement funds and the remainder will be paid by the City of Madison.

Land for the entire four-mile project was acquired from Union Pacific Railroad in 2008 for $2.4 million. Half of the cost, $1.2 million, came from the Wisconsin DNR’s Stewardship Program.

In addition to the soon-to-be-installed bridge from Colfax, Luther Memorial Church on University Avenue in Madison was built in the 1920s out of Colfax sandstone quarried just west of town.

Several years ago, Anderson Bridges donated the footbridge over Eighteen Mile Creek at the Colfax Fairgrounds.