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Sagging Green Bay bridge to get federal money

A span on the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay shows signs of buckling Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 in this view looking west. Authorities say a section of the Interstate 43 bridge, about 150 to 200 yards long, dipped about three feet across all four lanes. No one has been injured. Police closed the bridge, known as the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge, before sunrise Wednesday. (AP Photo/Press-Gazette Media, Jim Matthews)

A span on the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay shows signs of buckling Wednesday. Gov. Scott Walker declared the bridge an emergency situation Friday, making repairs to the bridge eligible for federal money. (AP Photo/Press-Gazette Media, Jim Matthews)

Gov. Scott Walker declared the sagging Leo Frigo bridge in Green Bay an emergency situation Friday, making repairs to the bridge eligible for federal money.

The Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief money would reimburse the state for all repair costs during the first 180 days of construction, according to a news release.

Walker, in issuing the executive order Friday, called the bridge a key commercial link, declaring the closure a disaster and placing Brown County in a state of emergency for 60 days.

The Interstate 43 bridge over the Fox River has been closed since Wednesday. One of the eastern piers settled, creating a dip in the bridge span.

A team of structural and geotechnical experts from WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration met Friday to develop a plan of action, according to the release. Engineers from Moon Township, Pa.-based Michael Baker Jr. Inc. and Northbrook, Ill.-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. have also been added to the team.

The team, according to the release, will survey a portion of the structure to reduce the area of safety concern, attach tiltmeters and accelerometers to three piers to monitor and warn of any movement, and monitor the settlement of the damaged pier twice per day.

The bridge, which spans the Fox River at the mouth of Green Bay, carries about 40,000 cars a day.

— Beth Kevit

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