New ‘floating stairway’ allowing access to Lake Michigan opens in Mequon

NOW: New ‘floating stairway’ allowing access to Lake Michigan opens in Mequon

MEQUON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The long-anticipated "floating staircase" that will allow people to access Lake Michigan and back up to Virmond Park was unveiled in Mequon Friday, Aug. 18. 

It's a simple solution that's taken about seven years to complete. The floating staircase, made out of wood, is the only safe way down to the lake and it was built without damaging the environment. 

The project's general manager, Andrzej Sitarski, says the majority of the construction took place during the winter. 

"There's not much mud, the surface is very solid," Sitarski said. 

The waterfront features steep bluffs and erosion making it hard to get down to Lake Michigan -- until now.

"We’re about 130 feet above Lake Michigan here and a very steep bluff, and so it was many years in the engineering and designing conceptual work to get to this point," said Andrew Struck, Director of Ozaukee Planning and Parks Department. 

The stairway at Virmond Park sits on sleds secured by cables and anchors at the top of the bluff. 


"When surface wash away stairs just adjusting themselves," said Sitarski. 

Sitarski says it was no easy task constructing his largest set of stairs yet. 

"That's what I love most about it. The challenges...we had many but that's what life is," Sitarski said. 

Thanks to his team, locals and visitors alike will not be able to enjoy one of our state's gorgeous natural wonders from up close. 

Engineers hope the 227-step pilot project will be implemented in other inaccessible areas in the region.

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