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I-43 bridge closed indefinitely while state plans emergency repairs

GREEN BAY (WSAU-Wheeler News)   A high-rise Interstate bridge in Green Bay will stay closed indefinitely to repair a long dip that was found early yesterday. Officials said a reinforced concrete pier apparently settled about three-feet deeper into the ground than normal. That caused a major sagging of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge over the Fox River.

The dip is about 400-feet long and 20-inches deep. It crosses all four lanes of I-43.

State Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said during a news conference that the bridge is in no danger of collapsing. Governor Scott Walker said the bridge is important to northeast Wisconsin's economy and quote, "We will fix this." Kim Rudat of the state D-O-T said the bridge will be closed for months, maybe a year, while the exact problem is identified and repaired.

Photos show that an entire footing sank into the soil. The pier is one of dozens supporting the tall bridge, located in an industrial area between the Bay of Green Bay and the city's downtown. A detour has been set up.

The bridge was last inspected 13 months ago. Cracks were found in the piers, but were said to be from normal wear. Federal reports rated various parts of the bridge as good-to-satisfactory a year ago. It resurfacing and maintenance work done this year as part of a $17-million upgrade of I-43.

The Leo Frigo bridge opened in 1981. It carries about 40,000 vehicles per day.