Jacksonville Bridge Project Will Restore Local Waterway

Jan 6, 2020

A five month bridge improvement and pipe replacement project that begins January 6 will benefit an environmentally sensitive tributary of Wilson Bay.

 

 


The project includes the removal of two 40-year-old culverts that support a causeway over Thompson School Creek at Sturgeon City.  The $490,000 project, primarily funded by a Clean Water State Revolving Fund grant, will also include the installation of a 30-foot steel bridge which is wider than the current causeway. 

“Restoring the stream bed back to its natural state was something on our bucket list for a very long time.” said Pat Donnovan-Brandenburg, Jacksonville’s stormwater manager.  

During the five month construction, Wardola Street will be blocked near the Lighthouse in Christ Ministries to the east and the intersection with Loyola Drive to the west.

The undersized pipes have become clogged with sediment and prevent the creek from connecting to Wilson Bay. As a result, fish are no longer able to travel upstream to spawn and invasive plants have taken over.  

“The upper portion above the spit of land has become more of a freshwater area and it’s supposed to be brackish water,” said Donnovan-Brandenburg.  “The salinity [of the creek] should fluctuate with the salinity of Wilson Bay, but because of the dam across the creek, it does not. As a result, invasive plant species have taken over and outcompeted the wetland plants that need some sort of salinity gradient which is not present with the current conditions.”

Donnovan-Brandenburg said part of the restoration work includes removing invasive plants and replacing them with native trees, shrubs, and wetland plants.  The project will get underway Jan 6 and is expected to last through May.