Plans for southern bridge in De Pere move forward

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 6:20 PM CDT
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Officials say for the first time ever the state has committed to helping with the Southern Bridge Arterial Project.

Action 2 News has been following the slow progress of the project for years.

The bridge and an expansion of I-41 between De Pere and Appleton was partially vetoed out of the state budget to leave both elements in the hands of the DOT..

The DOT will cover the cost of the interchange, which has always been the plan for the I-41 expansion.

The bridge will be built in hopes to alleviate heavy traffic over the Fox River at the Claude Allouez Bridge.

The Department of Transportation committed to designing and constructing the I-41 interchange that will hook into the southern bridge.

"If Brown County can get through the environmental process and get to a record of decision, then the Department of Transportation would take it from that point and do the design and construction of the interchange," Director of the Northeast Department of Transportation Will Dorsey said.

Dorsey said DOT Secretary wrote a letter to Brown County Executive, Troy Streckenbach, indicating that Brown County must decide on the location of the interchange and determine a specific bypass route by October 2020, then the department would fund the design and construction of the interchange.

The county also has to complete an environmental impact statement by that date.

But before anything can be done, municipalities in Brown County have to agree on the project.

"If they're not apart of this then we're really kind of still at square one," Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said.

Streckenbach said each municipality has to agree and put money towards the environmental study.

Brown County Supervisors approved funding for the study Wednesday night.

"The town of Ledgeview has agreed, we know that the city of De Pere is funded and the town of Lawrence is in two weeks that they'll make that determination," Streckenbach said.

If everything goes well the project will begin within the I-41 expansion in 2025 and be completed by 2029.

*NOTE: Action 2 News has corrected part of the story that initially reported the bridge would be covered by federal funding.