7 votes

Dyreson Road Bridge


West Approach

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in September 2008


BH Photo #124814



This bridge has been completely restored and is once again open to traffic! The bridge received a full sandblasting and repainting, and a new timber/asphalt deck, wood guard rails inside the truss, and ARMCO railings and stop signs on either side. The bridge has been painted black. The only modification to the superstructure that I could find was that the stabilizer rods underneath were attached directly to the abutments rather than to the end floor beams. The wood guard rails are substantial, but they don't overpower the truss and allow for easy viewing of the lower chords. The bridge overall has retained its original appearance and functionality. The weight limit has been increased to 10 tons.


Pinned Pratt through truss bridge over Yahara River on E. Dyreson Road
Town of Dunn, Dane County, Wisconsin
Open to traffic, 10-ton posted load
Built 1897; rehabilitated 1983, restored 2015
- Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Single-span, pinned connection, Pratt through truss, significant for its connection to the Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Company, one of the most prolific fabricators in Wisconsin with many installations in Wisconsin and Iowa, and as far away as Colorado and Texas.
Length of largest span: 124.0 ft.
Total length: 127.3 ft.
Deck width: 14.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.7 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.98810, -89.27865   (decimal degrees)
42°59'17" N, 89°16'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/314231/4762012 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory number
BH 34724 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 56.6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 25, 2016: Updated by Matt Lohry: Bridge is now open
  • December 8, 2014: Photo imported by Dave King
  • October 25, 2012: Updated by Matt Lohry: Updated status
  • January 26, 2011: New Street View added by Eric Hanson
  • January 12, 2011: New photos from Eric Hanson
  • September 20, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning



Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted February 12, 2016, by Art Suckewer

Open and work just about done:


Restoration preserves rare truss bridge, ribbon cutting set for Saturday

By: Bill Livick

If you go

What: Ribbon cutting for opening of Dyreson Bridge

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13

Where: Dyreson Road at the Yahara River in the Town of Dunn

More info: 838-1081

It cost almost $1 million to restore, but the Dyreson Bridge is open again for the first time since May 2011.

Last Saturday, workers put down “a wearing surface” on the bridge deck, which opened last Tuesday, Feb. 2.

“They got the surface on Saturday and they pulled the barricades down,” said Town of Dunn clerk/business manager Cathy Hasslinger. “They’ll take that temporary wearing surface off this summer and put a double-seal coat over it, so the bridge will be closed again for a few days.”

The bridge, originally built in 1868 and replaced in 1897 with the current structure, is one of the last truss bridges in the state. It crosses the Yahara River on Dyreson Road, one of only two state designated Rustic Roads in the township.

Dunn officials asked the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2011 to close the bridge after learning that steel I-beams supporting it had rusted to the point that their flanges could be bent by hand, Town chair Ed Minihan told the Hub.

Town officials had hoped to rebuild the bridge long before now, but a bid in 2012 to perform the work came in higher than expected from a company that did not have the requisite experience, Minihan said. The company’s estimate of $856,499 was deemed too high.

When the project was rebid, a contractor from Waukesha – Zenithtech Inc. – was awarded the construction contract with a bid of $760,918. The final DOT estimate included design, engineering and change orders and brought the total estimated cost to $920,000, Hasslinger said.

The project is complicated because of the bridge’s historic nature and also the fact that its 127-foot length spans the Yahara River. In replacing the bridge’s structural components and repainting it, workers had to be diligent about protecting the environment.

“It’s an intricate process to do the restoration,” Minihan explained in an interview last year. “It’s kind of wrapped up in plastic right at the moment because they can’t let the paint spray get into the water. You can’t believe the rigging they have to do this.”

A DOT report indicated that around 75 vehicles passed over the bridge each day before it was closed.

Construction to restore the bridge began in June 2015 and cost nearly $1 million. The town’s share was about $200,000, Hasslinger said. Most of the remaining funding came from DOT grants.

“There are very few of these bridges left,” Minihan said.

The Dyreson Bridge is listed in a DOT report titled “Historic Highway Bridges in Wisconsin,” which indicates the bridge was engineered and fabricated by Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Works and built by another Milwaukee company at a cost of $1,028.

The overall project is 585 feet to include a new approach on both ends. When completed, there will be a stop sign on each end because it’s a one-lane bridge.

Located between Stoughton and McFarland, the bridge is “a significant representative example of a metal, overhead, Pratt Truss highway bridge construction, as practiced in Wisconsin” between 1895 and 1910, according to an engineering report.

Minihan said the company doing the restoration encountered “a few surprises,” which accounted for the cost overruns.

The town is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the bridge opening at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted December 25, 2015, by David Parsons (dpsv650 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm happy to report that as I write this (12/25/2015),the Dyerson Road bridge is open to traffic. They did a beautiful job of restoration, being careful not to mar this, one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. As an aside, I must take credit for the "haunted" stories, as, several years ago in a fit of boredom I posted the story of cries and screams and the "phantom" black car on a "hauntings" website. The story has taken on a life of its own, even appearing in a book on Madison's haunted places. Be careful what you take as factual on the WWW!

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted August 1, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Funding for restoration secure, bids to be let in February 2015:


Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted October 27, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] comwe)

We generally need a local that has taken an interest or I go out and do cold calls once a bridge is DOOMED, trying to shed a little light if you will..

Or then one day you get a call, hey I need a bridge..

So when you go to these bridges discuss with the locals...


Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted October 27, 2012, by Matt Lohry

Julie, I'm not sure if you have boundary limits for your project considerations, but this bridge would be an excellent candidate for a Workin' Bridges restoration project!

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted October 27, 2012, by Matt Lohry

The article that I set a link to also mentions reports of "unnatural" incidents, such as "cries and screams" being heard late at night at the bridge, and a "phantom black car" that chases drivers and disappears just before running into them, so I added the category "haunted" to the list. I have a tough time believing that myself, but just in case anyone is interested or has had encounters themselves, the category is there.

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted October 25, 2012, by Matt Lohry

This bridge is still closed, but thankfully still extant as of 10-24-12.

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted July 7, 2012, by Corey Coyle (coreyc [at] tds [dot] net)

As of July 7 2012 Dyreson is closed to all vehicles there are barricades on both sides of the bridge.

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted May 27, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

That BP&IW plaque definitely gave me a good chuckle this morning. Isn't Photoshop great!

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted May 26, 2010, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

"I believe that the Two Holes in Span Bridge Co. may have been a subsidiary of the Busted Plaque and Iron Works."

Robert, I've seen quite a few bridges from BP&IW as well as the subsidiary Two Holes in Span Bridge Company, most of them in Wisconsin. Here's one bridge with the east parapet made by the Two Holes in Span Company and the west parapet by the Busted Plaque and Iron Works.

Maybe we should start a category?

Dyreson Road Bridge
Posted May 24, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

In reference to photo # 3, I believe that the Two Holes in Span Bridge Co. may have been a subsidiary of the Busted Plaque and Iron Works. BP&IW plaques are quite common, and are sometimes covered with a layer of graffiti. Thus they often bear the name of local individuals who had nothing to do with the construction of the bridge, but frequenly used it as a party site.

Alternatively, they may be covered by modern highway department clearance signs.

This company was later bought out by the Bullet Hole Plaque Company. The placement of the plaque is a key feature here. Most BP&IW plaques were mounted within 6-8 feet of the bridge deck, placing them in easy reach of vandals. BHPC plaques often adorned the top of the truss however.

One type of plaque that I never get tired of discovering was the design fabricated by the Intact Plaque Co. These are usually found only in the most rural areas, often at the end of a long and muddy dirt road that was not traveled for years before your visit.