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UPDATE: Bremer County asking river enthusiasts to use “extreme caution” in Janesville

JANESVILLE, Iowa – UPDATE: Bremer County Emergency Management posted to Facebook, asking river enthusiasts to use extreme caution when navigating the Cedar River where the Green Mill Ford Bridge was destroyed.

They say a lot or all of the bridge deck has been located, and some parts are almost two-miles downstream from where the bridge once stood. There’s also steel and bridge pilings that are visible. They have not yet been removed. 

“At this time we are considering the most efficient options for removing the material with minimal impacts on the adjacent shoreline. This will not be an easy project since the shoreline is wooded,” Bremer County Supervisor Tim Neil says in a press release.

In the press release, Bremer County says they will be placing marker signs at the public boat ramps near where the bridge fell. They say they will also be putting marker buoys in the water. This will let boaters know where areas are that have steel debris. 

On April 5th, a press release says fishermen were in the area when a piece of steel punctured their boat and caught them in the swift moving water. They are okay.

The press release says, “ While one boat collision with the debris is bad, Ladage fears what could have happened. “Imagine if the boaters had not been experienced on the water… Imagine if one or both had been knocked into the water rather than into their boat… Imagine if it was a kayaker or a person in a canoe that was tipped into the water. Regardless of their swimming skills or whether or not they are wearing a PFD, if a person gets caught in the debris, the results will likely be tragic.”


Previous Story:

Bremer County has been searching for an historic bridge after it was swept away by a big ice slab.

They say some of the wood structures on the Green Mill Ford Bridge were carried far by the Cedar River, but a pilot with Iowa State Patrol found them.

The Green Mill Ford Bridge has been around since 1902. But this weekend, that changed when mother nature determined it was time to go.

Howard Schmitz and his wife say it was around dinner time Saturday night, when they noticed a big slab of ice coming down the Cedar River.

They knew a battle between mother nature and the man-made Green Mill Ford Bridge would soon come.

“And it hit the bridge and just all kinds of noises and the south end toppled and then it went down like dominos,” Schmitz says.

He grabbed his camera and captured the moment part of the north end of the bridge was swept away by ice.

Parts of the bridge have been found in multiple locations; that’s according to Bremer County Emergency Management.

They say they’ve been searching for the bridge since Saturday evening. They used a drone at first, but it was a pilot who found parts of the bridge today.

The Green Mill Ford Bridge was closed to traffic back in 1986, but many people in the community say it was still a scenic landmark to them.

Amanda Gilbert

Multimedia Journalist

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