Governor Evers proposes $1.2 million towards Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge repairs

Governor Evers proposing $1.2 million to help with repairs to the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge....
Governor Evers proposing $1.2 million to help with repairs to the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge. The bridge sees more than 15,000 vehicles daily.(Samantha Cavalli, WBAY)
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 5:56 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As a part of his biannual budget, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers proposed $1.2 million in an effort to repair the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge.

“The Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge has served a central transportation route for the city of Green Bay for more than two decades,” Governor Evers said. “Every day thousands of drivers depend on this bridge to get to their next destination and after 20 years it’s no surprise that repairs are needed to make sure this bridge remains safe and accessible for travelers.”

According to the governor, this is his third attempt at proposing these repairs as part of his budget plan.

“The Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure in this community and needs to be fixed. Period,” Governor Evers said.

Green Bay Representative Kristina Shelton said the bridge is an essential way of travel to the people of Green Bay, connecting the east and west sides of the city. She said more than 15,000 vehicles travel on the bridge daily and is a critical part of the city’s infrastructure.

“When it was taken out of the budget process the last time and we wrote a piece of legislation to fund it, it was because the major bridge, the Mason Street Bridge, was down and we pointed to this one (the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge) and said if this one goes down what will happen to the ability of our residents and our businesses and the infrastructure of Green Bay,” Shelton said.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said if the governor’s budget was to pass as is, it would provide Green Bay more than $11.4 million additional dollars for critical needs such as public safety and infrastructure.

“This is something that has been debated and discussed by our administration by our council for many years,” Genrich said. “The bridge continues to operate so it’s not a critical need that we must absolutely include when we’re going out for borrowing, but it could fail at any day. At any moment the bridge could stop working and we would fail to be able to get those 16 thousand cars across the bridge. That is why it is so essential that the Governor has again included this piece of funding in his budget and we’re incredibly grateful for that support and asking for our legislators on both sides of the aisle to recognize that support and need as we move through the budget process.”

Also in the governor’s budget, he proposed providing $50 million in bonding to support the Southern Bridge project on the Fox River.

“I know that is something that is on the docket for future things,” Governor Evers said. “Our transportation department goes way out in time to start to plan these things and I know that is on the docket for future years but it takes a lot of time to get it to a point where we actually know what the cost is and how feasible it is.”