Resolution moves Southern Bridge project ahead
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – The Southern Bridge project now is “really a project,” said Mayor Mike Walsh shortly before the De Pere Common Council voted for an official resolution Tuesday, Feb. 4.
The resolution says De Pere will help Brown County pay for an environmental impact study that’s needed before the Southern Bridge project can become a reality.
The Southern Bridge would be a new bridge over the Fox River, at Rockland and Red Maple/Southbridge Roads, with a new full-access Interstate 41 interchange at Southbridge Road, plus arterial roads.
The common council approved $377,000 toward the impact study last fall, as one of several communities kicking in a portion of the cost of the study.
Ledgeview is contributing $96,360, while Lawrence’s portion is $76,285.
The three amounts together make up about 50 percent of the cost of the study. Brown County will foot the rest.
A land use and transportation plan for 2020 done in 1996 stated as land developed over the subsequent 25 years (into 2021), burgeoning traffic should be accommodated in two phases.
The first phase, a four-lane replacement for the old two-lane Claude Allouez Bridge, was finished in 2007.
Traffic volume continued to rise significantly after the Claude Allouez bridge, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates as development in the area marches on, not only traffic congestion but delays in shipping, safety issues, and a transportation network that doesn’t function well will be the result.
The Southern Bridge is the second phase.
The resolution says the Southern Bridge and connecting arterial street system south of downtown De Pere will help to minimize traffic congestion and allow the state and its local partners avoid the high cost of expanding the recently reconstructed Claude Allouez Bridge and State Highway 32/57 south of downtown De Pere.
“I hope that there’s no doubt up until now about what De Pere wants,” said Alder Scott Crevier. “It’s nice to get it down in black and white like this to summarize everything, but I hope they are not waiting and wondering.”
With the resolution finalized, the matter goes to the Brown County planning department, which will set in motion the steps toward getting the study rolling, Walsh told the board.
“It (the resolution) is just a formality at this point to get it before the state and federal government because now it’s really a project,” he said. “We’ve been pretty consistent as a community of what we want and this definitely is what we want.”
In other business, the council voted to approve paying architect firm GRAEF $6,500 to investigate the condition of the roof, attic, and insulation of the De Pere Community Center, which has been having problems with ice dams and icicles in recent years.
Parks Department Director Marty Kosobucki said the city’s maintenance department investigated the situation and found part of the attic had no insulation.
That has led to heat loss through the roof, which spurred melting, which causes dams of ice when melted snow refreezes.
Crevier said it would be a good idea to find out why the insulation was omitted as a point of consideration when choosing whom the city does business with in the future.
The community center is about 20 years old.