GREEN BAY, Wis. - Repairs to the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge over the Fox River in Green Bay are expected to be completed by January, state transportation officials said Tuesday morning.
The target date is Jan. 17, state Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said.
The 33-year-old bridge has been closed since Sept. 25 when drivers noticed a pronounced dip in the pavement during the dark overnight hours. The bridge carries 40,000 vehicles a day over the Fox River on Interstate 43 through Green Bay.
Officials later discovered that the bridge had sunk about two feet at Pier 22 just east of the river. The problem caused an estimated 400-foot-long section of the bridge deck to buckle across all four lanes of traffic.
It is one of about 50 two-legged piers holding up the 8,000-foot-long bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration sent engineers to help examine the problem, and the Obama administration granted Gov. Scott Walker's request for emergency federal funding to offset the costs. Early projections of the cost of repairing the bridge have gone as high as $50 million.
By early October, officials reported finding signs of corrosion on some of the steel pilings that support Pier 22. The pilings extend about 100 feet underground, although crews erecting the bridge in the late 1970s were unable to reach bedrock with many vertical beams.
Some experts have questioned whether corrosion affecting only some pilings could fully explain the problem, or whether changing soil conditions deep underground could have caused the steel pilings to sink.
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