GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Drivers know the feeling well, you are headed through downtown Green Bay and the bridge is up.
Now, there are big changes on the horizon for how the bridges operate.
Over a two year time period the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will make upgrades to the Mason street, Walnut street and the Main Street (Ray Nitschke) bridge.
“We will be upgrading the electrical and camera system. Upgrading the closed circuit tv systems in the bridgetender houses” says Andrew Fulcer, Project Manager, for the Wisconsin DOT.
The DOT will also install remote operation equipment. That means the job of lifting and lowering all three bridges could be done by one person. Currently, each span has a bridgetender.
“This is a cost effective measure on the behalf of the department” says Kim Rudat, Regional Communications Manager for the Wisconsin DOT.
While the technology will be in place, the DOT has no offical timeline to switch to remote operations. Drivers give it a green light.
“I think if you can monitor the traffic using it, then for sure” says driver Adam Robillard.
Wendy Koehler agrees saying” I am OK with that. I think it is great. Advance in technology, good for the community”.
Boat traffic declined in recent years.
The bridges opened a combined 832 times in 2012, but only 487 times last year.
“You have a river out there that some days are very slow and one person controlling the bridges can do a very good job” Rudat explains.
On a busy boating weekend, or special event, the DOT can still staff each bridge individually.
It is a plan already saving money in ohter parts of our state.
“There is remote operations in place in our region already specifically in Menasha at Tayco street” Fulcer says.
Even while the upgrades are installed drivers and boaters should not notice much of an impact.
If you have questions about the project, the DOT is holding a meeting Monday, June 22.
They are especially encouraging boaters to atend.
Head to the DOT office (944 Vanderperren Way, Green Bay). The meeting runs from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Andy Fulcer, WisDOT NE Region, 944 Vanderperren Way, Green Bay, WI 54304 or emailed to email@example.com