1 vote

UP - WI-83 Overpass


The South Approach

State Highway 83 goes under the railroad on the east side, a snowmobile trail under the west side of the bridge. The recreational trail was the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls and Western Railroad.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2008

BH Photo #113143

Street View 


Information provided by C&NW bridge records at the Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society archives


Deck Girder Bridge over Wisc 83 on Union Pacific Railroad
Merton, Waukesha County, Wisconsin
Open to traffic
Built 1911
- Cleary-White Construction Co. of Chicago, Illinois (Substructure)
- Pennsylvania Steel Co. of Steelton, Pennsylvania (Superstructure)
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
- Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (MILW)
- Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad (MMF&W)
- Milwaukee, Sparta & Northwestern Railway (MS&NW)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Deck plate girder
Length of largest span: 38.1 ft.
Total length: 69.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.16120, -88.37260   (decimal degrees)
43°09'40" N, 88°22'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/388413/4779630 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 36387 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 11, 2022: Updated by John Marvig: added builder
  • August 28, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • April 25, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added bridge to Railroad overpass category
  • March 20, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Luke
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com


North Lake Railroad Bridge
Posted April 19, 2012, by John H Stowe (jstowe [at] tds [dot] net)

The Milwaukee Road segment known as the Bugline terminated in North Lake near the station which still exists. It had originally been intended to be extended but the Chicago and Northwestern line (now Union Pacific) came through with its double track line less than a block away making extension infeasible.

Apparently, there is some intent to extend the Bugline Recreational Trail eventually from Merton as the former rail line remains fully intact including the venerable timber trestle across the Bark River about one half mile west of Highway E. (I'm wondering how J.R. Manning missed that bridge.) If anyone knows anything about trail extension plans, I would appreciate the update.

As for the origin of the "Bugline" term, I read that it got the name from the way the railroad wound its way through the Waukesha County countryside "like a bug crawling on a vine".

North Lake Railroad Bridge
Posted December 19, 2010, by Dave M (nightspirit_kosen [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Im not sure... Though the text of the photos makes my eyes light up as I wondered where the old Kettle Moraine Scenic RR line might have once joined. But as for the Bug-Line... I wonder if it was the name of the line running thru when the Railroads went though. Much like Watertown Sub... a nickname, maybe created since it runs along a lake area; possibly very well bug filled with mosquitos that maybe it was nicknamed as such... The Line of Bugs. hehe Just a guess.

North Lake Railroad Bridge
Posted August 4, 2008, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

No one really seems to know for sure why it has that moniker.

The Bugline follows an abandoned rail right-of-way that went into service circa 1890 to service the quarry operations in Lannon. (See the category Lannon Stone for more about the quarries and stone.)

The line was built by the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad from Granville to Sussex and it was extended to Merton and North Lake about 1897. The "Bugline" was acquired by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (The Milwaukee Road) about 1900 and abandoned in the 1960's. (These dates are also in question but are probably accurate within a couple of years either way.)

The right-of-way from Granville to Menomonee Falls was never developed into a trail and probably never will be, since it used to cross US 41 (now a freeway) at grade, much of it is now on private property and part of it is now covered by several feet of the Omega Hills landfill in the eastern edge of Menomonee Falls.

The Merton to North Lake segment of the old short line was operated as a historic steam railroad that operated out of North Lake. That has long since ceased operation (the last run was in October, 2001) and the locomotive is now on static display in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

Waukesha County is talking about extending the trail through North Lake and along the Oconomowoc River to Monches Park. The development is not without controversy (is any government development without its critics?) but that doesn't answer your question, does it?

As far as I know, the short line railroad was even called the Bugline and why it is called that is just one of those things lost to history.

North Lake Railroad Bridge
Posted August 1, 2008, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

If it was an interurban line, it may have just been a "catchy" name given to it. We had one that went through my hometown that was called the "Honey Bee" Line. Don't know that it really stood for anything, but I think it was just to promote and get people to ride it.

Bug Line Menomonee Falls to North Lake, Wisconsin
Posted August 1, 2008, by john miller (johnchrisbv66 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)


I'm try to find out why the new bike trail from Menomonee Falls to Merton, Wisconsin is called the 'bug-line'. Was is because of the 'doodle bug' light gas powered passenger equipment or ?

John Miller, South Milwaukee,Wisconsin