WisDOT news conference held August 27, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
GREEN BAY - The Leo Frigo Bridge in Green Bay has had its ups and downs in the last year.Part of the bridge sagged last September. Then it was jacked back up in only a matter of months.As part of the final report on the project, Department of Transportation officials say they added extra safety features to help keep drivers' minds at ease.And they said they did so, under budget.The D.O.T. says repairs to the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge came to about $15 million. That's less than the $18-20 million originally estimated."The team collaboration and the amazing work that was done in such a short order was incredible. To get it open the way we did, the solution, the cost. It was a pretty cheap cost for the bridge size that we had," said Scot Becker, D.O.T. Bridge Engineer.One of the bridge's support piers sagged two feet last September. The D.O.T. says soil conditions corroded the steel pilings, causing the one on pier 22 to buckle."It's amazing that the structure still stood after September 25th. After seeing that, we're very, very lucky," said Tom Buchholz, D.O.T. Project Manager.Crews worked long hours to make repairs, and two and a half months later, Leo Frigo was open again.So could it happen again? Last Fall, the D.O.T. found what it calls minor corrosion on 17 piers mainly on the East side of the bridge."Organics. Just different products in there that aren't normal soil fill that we normally build our bridges through," said Buchholz.Crews installed probes and portable steel pilings at eight sites on both sides of the Fox River. The probes will monitor rust and corrosion, and will be inspected every two years."It's just another tool to help us figure out the fix, if we need to do anything in the future.And as traffic passes over the bridge, one question remains, is it safe?"As far as the Department of Transportation is concerned, Leo Frigo is safe to use, and it's going to be safe to use for many years to come. And most of this is just to make sure that it continues to be that way," said Kim Rudat, D.O.T. Regional Communication Manager.The Department of Transportation's full report, 2,000 pages in all, is scheduled to be released later this Fall.You can see the full draft summary here.
WLUK FOX 11 is your source for Balanced News and Severe Weather Coverage for Appleton, Shawano, Sturgeon Bay, Kewaunee, Two Rivers, New London, Bonduel, Pulaski, Suamico, Menasha, Neenah, Shiocton, Ashwaubenon, Algoma, Mishicot and Wrightstown.