This Wisconsin bridge is as old as the Titanic – how a family is working to preserve it after its removal

TOWN OF TIFFANY, Wis. — For the last 110 years, a steel structure known as the Smith Road Bridge has been a fixture over the Turtle Creek.

“I couldn’t even guess how many wedding pictures have been taken on that,” said Paul Luety. “Graduation pictures. Homecoming pictures. Prom pictures.”

The structure is one of the oldest of its kind, according to Ken Luety, Paul’s dad. Located in the Town of Tiffany, it’s been an integral part of the community for over a century.

“I run across that bridge every day for exercise,” he said. “A lot of people go across it.”

As construction begins on another nearby bridge, however, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation determined the Smith Road bridge was not capable of handling traffic, which would be re-routed to travel over it. The DOT also determined the bridge wouldn’t be able to support the weight of emergency vehicles, Luety said.

“Everyone in the community is on the same page,” Paul Luety said. “We’d rather see it saved than dismantled and thrown for scrap.”

The Luety family was able to work a deal to save the structure, offering their farm as a new permanent home. On Wednesday, workers removed the bridge from Turtle Creek.

“It was nerve racking a little bit,” Paul Luety said. “You’re picking up a 100-year-old piece of history. That’s never been done before.”

The Luety family says though the bridge will be on their property, they want to allow the community to continue to use it for photos – with permission. They also have plans to include it as a portion of a nearby snowmobiling trail.