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Soup's on!

Volunteers raised more than $300 for the senior center at a soup fundraiser on Thursday.

Andrea Draeger, director of senior and enrichment and her staff at the Watertown Senior and Community Center sold 101 bowls from 10 crockpot donations of soup along with toppings and bread.

Various soups were available for $3 a bowl; and were a tasty treat for those who ventured out or their homes and into the cold, winter weather to support the cause, Draeger said.

The event was not held in 2021 and 2022 because of COVID-19, but was brought back this year to help offset the costs associated with program materials and supplies for senior activities, Draeger said.

Weight restrictions placed on Main Street (Cole Memorial) Bridge

With weight restrictions placed on the Main Street or Cole Memorial bridge Monday the city’s fire department will use different routes to respond to emergency calls.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Waukesha-based Corre, Watertown’s structural engineering firm, will only allow a weight limit of 20 tons or 40,000 pounds. Before the change, the bridge had a 40-ton limit, according to a city press release.

The Watertown Fire Department’s engine weighs approximately 20 tons, said Watertown Fire Chief Travis Teesch. The city’s ladder truck weighs about 40 tons.

“If we’re using the engine or ladder truck we will have to use Milwaukee or Cady streets,” he said.

Cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, box trucks and school buses can cross the bridge without issue. Semi-trucks, dump trucks and fire trucks will be prohibited, according to the release.

The DOT based the weight limit on various areas of the bridge’s general deterioration. They recommended the 20-ton posting remain in place until the bridge is replaced. However, if detours of heavier trucks become an issue, the city is to contact the state to revisit the weight limit posting and load rating on repair of the bridge deck, according to the release.

“While I am disappointed that we’ve gotten to a point where this action needs to be taken, I am glad there was agreement on taking this step. I will continue to advocate for the expedited replacement of this bridge,” the press release quotes Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland as saying.

City employees will continue to monitor the bridge for additional deterioration and to ensure the steel plate remains secured in place until repairs can be completed. Bridge deck repair work is planned for this spring. Bridge removal and replacement is scheduled for 2025, but could be moved up to 2024, according to the release.