A Historic Overview of Milwaukee’s River Bridges


Drive, bike, or walk around the City of Milwaukee long enough and you will soon encounter one of our local rivers: the Menomonee, Milwaukee, or Kinnickinnic. However, navigating around the city and over these natural features requires innovative bridges that serve pedestrian, vehicular, and river traffic.

The city’s landscape and history were shaped by our rivers and, in turn, by the bridges that were built to cross them. Examples of the important role that bridges played in Milwaukee’s history and identity include the infamous Bridge War of 1845, which led to Milwaukee’s unique “diagonal bridges,” and the Menomonee Valley’s iconic cable-stayed 6th Street Viaduct, modeled after the Milwaukee Art Museum’s addition of the “Brise Soleil Calatrava.”


As Milwaukee moves into the twenty-first century, vehicular traffic continues to increase, the city’s infrastructure ages, and local river bridges require rehabilitation or replacement. The Juneau Avenue Bascule Bridge is being replaced by a lift bridge that costs less to maintain and operate, the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge is undergoing rehabilitation, and many other bridges in the downtown area are also slated for repair and replacement.

Please see the links below for more information regarding the history of our river bridges and the projects scheduled in the upcoming years that will shape the future of Milwaukee’s landscape.


Learn More about Milwaukee’s Bridges:

Milwaukee Bridge Overview

Milwaukee’s Bridge War

Milwaukee’s Historic Bascule Bridges

Replacing the Juneau Avenue Bascule Bridge

For more information on Milwaukee’s Bridges visit: