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WINNECONNE – Winneconne contractor Radtke Contractors, Inc., has been ordered to pay $20,000 in forfeitures, assessments and costs for placing and failing to remove material in the Kickapoo River in Richland County during a bridge construction project in 2008.
According to the complaint, the Department of Transportation contracted with Radtke Contractors to replace the State Highway 56 bridge over the Kickapoo River in Richland County in the summer and fall of 2008. The contract required that any construction material that may fall into the river so as to impede navigation be promptly removed. State law also prohibits the placement of material on the bed of a navigable water without a permit.
In September 2008, Radtke Contractors let wooden beams called false work and related bridge construction material fall into the Kickapoo River. Fishermen complained about the material being in the River, and DOT staff repeatedly asked Radtke Contractors to remove the material. Some of the wooden false work floated downstream 250-300 feet from the bridge and became hung up on a snag, completely blocking the width of the River with used lumber with nails in it. The Department of Natural Resources sent a Notice of Violation to Radtke Contractors on November 3, 2008, and Radtke Contractors removed the wooden false work from the River on November 6, 2008.
According to the complaint, the Kickapoo River at and below the Highway 56 bridge is a free-flowing navigable river system and a popular canoe route, and the wooden false work in the River eliminated the navigability of this section of the River and caused an undue hazard to public users of the River.
"Wisconsin law requires that contractors manage construction projects so as to protect public use of the state's navigable waters," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that navigation of Wisconsin's waters is safeguarded through compliance with the law."
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case for the State. Richland County Judge Leineweber signed the order imposing the forfeitures.