MENASHA, Wis.(WFRV)- The second phase of the Racine Bridge construction project is officially underway, with a full closure to vehicular traffic. “Leave a little earlier, plan a different route,” said Officer Nick Oleszak of Menasha P.D. Oleszak tells Local 5’s Eric Richards, the key to getting through the detours is make sure you pay attention to the road. “Slow down, staff off the phone and pay attention,” said Oleszak.
The project, which started in October of 2020, allows for a brand new and improved bridge over the Fox River. “So far, we had been able to keep the existing Bridge open to traffic and this morning we entered into the second stage,” said William Bertrand of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Bertrand says the progress has been going well. “The Bridge is now closed to vehicle traffic so our Contractor can begin the demolition of our existing Bridge,” said Bertrand.
Businesses along the detour routes are affected and some are optimistic the increased traffic will bring more business. “Honestly, I think it could be a hit or miss. I feel like it could be better for our business with more people driving past this way,” said Melanie Losse, Cook at Glass Nickel Pizza on Washington Street. The restaurant has been at the current location for 5-years and welcomes the possibility of increased revenue.
Chris Dorn is a delivery driver for Glass Nickel Pizza and knows the ins and outs of Menasha. He says the improvement is a good thing. “It’s part of progress, I don’t have a problem with it as long as people understand that we’re going to have a little longer of a wait time,” said Dorn.
Officials are asking for patience and planning to get through the delays. Wisconsin D.O.T. has a website dedicated to the progress of construction. Click here for updates. You can also follow the progress on their twitter page.