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Wisconsin bridge closed indefinitely after 911 callers discover 400-foot-long ‘sag’

By David Edwards
Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:30 EDT
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Scott Walker speaks at a press conference (Green Bay Press Gazette/screen grab)
 
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has vowed to repair a Green Bay bridge that carries 40,000 vehicles a day after it was recently closed when motorists suddenly complained about a 400-foot-long sagging section.

After shutting down the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge on Wednesday, state officials said that that had no idea how long it would take to repair that nearly two-foot deep dip, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

“It could be months. It could be a year,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesperson Kim Rudat said.

For now, motorists will have to detour around that stretch of Interstate 43, which is expected to cause congestion and delays in other areas.

Unlike the Minneapolis bridge disaster that killed 13 people in 2007, Wisconsin authorities insist that the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge is not in danger of collapsing.

“The state of Wisconsin is committed… we will fix this bridge,” Gov. Walker said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Republican governor chose to borrow almost $1 billion for transportation in his 2013 budget instead of raising taxes. Walker also proposed supplementing the transportation fund with funds from the state’s main account, which would have been normally used for programs like schools and health care for the poor.

An Associated Press report published last week found that 65,605 bridges in the U.S. were classified by the federal National Bridge Inventory as “structurally deficient” and 20,808 were deemed to be “fracture critical.” But engineer and bridge expert Andrew Hermann told Raw Story that there was a “very slim chance of them falling.”

Sixty bridges in Wisconsin fall into the danger category, according to the AP. But the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge was apparently not one of them.

The 2012 National Bridge Inventory said the structural condition of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge was “equal to present minimum criteria.” Its deck and substructure were reportedly in “satisfactory condition,” while the overall superstructure was in “good condition.”

Watch this video from the Green Bay Press Gazette, broadcast Sept. 25, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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