It’s been years since the Veterans Memorial drawbridge in Kaukauna has been lifted for boat traffic, but that will soon change.
United States Coast Guard sent a letter to city officials stating it must be operational as a drawbridge no later than May 1, 2021.
“That’d be awesome,” said Kaukauna resident, Scott Veith.” “It would be great for the local economy and it would be nice to see boats actually using the locks again.”
The bridge has not been in regular operation since the late 1980’s. According to the CEO of the Fox River Navigational System Authority, Jeremy Cords, “The Veterans Memorial Bridge in Kaukuana doesn’t lift, and that’s an issue for navigation because recreational boats can’t pass it.”
Cord says he wants the locks system from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay completely open in the next few years, and in Kaukauna the locks are ready for boats, but the bridge is not.
“Once the bridge lifts we’ll be able to connect another segment of the river,” Cord said. “We’ll have potentially 17 miles of river way that will be navigable from Little Lake Butte des Morts, all the way to Wrightstown, basically to the Rapide Croche.”
But the main problem is the cost. According Kaukauna Mayor, Tony Penterman, fixing it will come with a price tag of $2.2 million.
Penterman said, “Because the bridge is too good of shape, we qualify for less federal funding, meaning the municipality will be responsible for 80 percent of the project and state and federal grands would be 20 percent of the project.”
That means the city may need some help from the tax payers to get this bridge up and running again.
The mayor is seeking additional funding and grants for the project. City council will vote on the bridge repairs when a final cost is estimated.