No Timeline on Repairs to Sagging Green Bay Bridge

No one is willing to put a time frame on the repair of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge that was closed on Sept. 25 after a passing motorist reported sagging roadway on the eastern section of the bridge.

“We’re not going to try to define (a timeline)….except to say don’t plan on using Leo Frigo any time soon,” said Kim Rudat, the DOT’s Northeast Region Communications Manager. “Could be months, could be a year.”

An estimated 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, which is a section of I-43 that crosses the Fox River in Green Bay.

The bridge was shut down immediately on Sept. 25 and a press conference was called for that afternoon, attended by Gov. Scott Walker, DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, local officials and members of the Northeast office of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“It’s a key transportation link in the area,” Walker said. “Our #1 priority is and will continue to be ensuring the absolute safety of the public.”

Walker said federal officials have offered the use of federal bridge inspectors to help the state engineers determine the problem and correct it.

“This is a significant incident, so it’s going to take us some time to investigate and solve,” said Secretary Gottlieb.

DOT engineers said the problem appears to be what they referred to as a double-hammerhead pier that apparently settled.

Gottlieb said inspectors will determine if any of the other piers that hold the bridge in place have settled, but added that the 7,980-foot long bridge is not in any danger of collapse.

They identified the sunken pier as No. 22, which is on land near North Quincy Street on the north side of the bridge. At a Thursday news conference, DOT engineers said they used lasers to determine Pier 22 sank 22 inches into the ground on one side and 27 inches on the other. By taking laser measurements every six hours, they determined the pier isn’t moving and there was no indication of settling in two neighboring piers.

Earlier this year the DOT completed a $17 million construction project on 3.5 miles of the I-43 corridor, which included the Leo Frigo Bridge.

Suggested detours

The Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge and the portion of I-43 from Atkinson Road to Webster Avenue in Green Bay are closed indefinitely. State officials offered these detours:

• Northbound I-43 traffic can take Highway 172 westbound to northbound U.S. Highway 41, which then continues north of Green Bay.

• Southbound traffic can follow southbound Highway 41 to eastbound Highway 172, which connects with I-43.

• Detours for local traffic have been posted. The DOT asked motorists to avoid using the freeway system around Green Bay if they can, and truck drivers are advised to use Highway 172 for a detour to avoid the tight turns in downtown Green Bay.