Bayview Bridge Closure Detour Routes Still Being Ironed Out

Due to the late arrival of a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center’s most recent Bayview Bridge Closure Opportunity Meeting didn’t go quite as planned.

As most of the business owners and community representatives in attendance were leaving the morning meeting on August 1, Steve Noel of the DOT appeared with the revised version of next year’s bridge detour patterns, which were intended to be the meeting’s main topic of discussion.

Sturgeon Bay is aiming to make sure the 15,000 extra cars that will be funneled through, instead of around, the city come upon a pristine cityscape, even going so far as to offer façade improvement loans to businesses along the detour route. But without the exact route in place, it’s been challenging to coordinate beautification efforts.

The southbound route through the city, which sends traffic down Egg Harbor Rd. and out Green Bay Rd. on Business 42/57, hasn’t changed in the DOT’s new draft, but the northbound route has been modified.

Previously, northbound drivers would have been routed up Neenah Ave. and over the Oregon St. Bridge before heading across 5th Ave. to meet up with Jefferson St., near North Shore Bank. In the new plan, northbound drivers come in via Green Bay Rd. and the official detour route sends them past Sturgeon Bay High School and back out to the highway via Michigan St.

Noel said the new route took recommendations from previous meetings into account, and there would be signage to inform northbound drivers that they could drive down 3rd Ave. to Jefferson and meet up with the highway.

“When you get to the corner of 3rd and Michigan going north, you’ll see ‘Detour Straight Ahead,’ and there we would sign Business 42/57 with an arrow taking people on 3rd,” said Noel. “So people would know that there are those two options.”

According to Noel, the four-way stop at 3rd and Michigan will likely be changed to a two-way stop, allowing cars on Michigan St. easier travel along the detour route.

Common Council member Bob Schlicht, who was still in attendance, agreed the new route was the safest, straightest route through the city, but he was also concerned about traffic bottlenecks on 3rd Ave. and business owners’ reaction to the new northbound route.

“They would prefer that everyone who is a potential customer have to drive by their door, and again, that’s not always consistent with moving traffic from one point to another,” said Schlicht. “The routing was always the question…and the easiest way to do it all may not be the best way for our businesses.”

Schlicht suggested the next Opportunity Meeting take place in the evening at a larger venue so that more residents could potentially attend, contribute, and see the proposed routes.

A meeting was tentatively scheduled for 5:30 pm on August 14 in the Sturgeon Bay Common Council room.