Southern Bridge Project advocates feel uncertain after partial veto

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – A highway expansion project connecting Brown and Outagamie counties has been partially vetoed by Governor Evers, leaving some state and local leaders disappointed.

The Southern Bridge Project was just another part of the Interstate 41 expansion, adding an interchange and bridge, but now it's uncertain where the project is headed.

Monday morning, alongside other state cabinet leaders, Secretary of Transportation, Craig Thompson said the state will move forward on the expansion of I-41, but not completely.

“There was specific language in the budget about the southern bridge, requiring specific design elements, which the governor vetoed out, because it was very prescriptive of what those design elements will be,” said Thompson.

The state says it wants more flexibility in the project and wants to work with engineers and locals on the best way to approach it.

“The folks (leaders) from this area, have done a very good job of playing out why the southern bridge is important, we’ve heard them, and we want to work with them on getting it done,” said Thompson.

However, local leaders who've advocated for this project, are feeling let down. They say it's missed opportunities for the safety, economy, and development of Northeast Wisconsin.

“The uncertainty is hampering our ability to have development in Northeast Wisconsin, benefit the economy of the area, and so from that standpoint, it’s a disappointing time, where we thought we were finally at the point where this decision, with this bridge is at a point where it’s never been,” said Brown County Executive, Troy Streckenbach.

Still, advocated said they're willing to keep the conversation going, but the project is now in the state's hands.