Local lawmaker pushes for state funding to repair Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A local lawmaker has introduced legislation to help Green Bay repair the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge. State Representative Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay) says the bill is needed to make sure the bridge remains in operation.

Every day close to 16,000 vehicles travel across the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge and each year roughly 400 bridge lifts are made for boats. But according to the head of Green Bay Public Works, at any time the system could fail.

“It’s 50-50, every time you push the button for a lift. Either it goes up or it doesn’t. We really need to replace the entire hydraulic system that operates the bridge,” said Green Bay Public Works Director Steve Grenier.

This bridge is owned by the city of Green Bay and the last time they looked at replacing the aging hydraulic system, the cost ran about $2 million.

And that is a bill the city has struggled to be able to afford. Which is why Representative Kristina Shelton has introduced legislation to help keep the bridge in operation.

“I believe that we have to invest in the things that we share. It’s better to pay for things up front than when you’re in a bind, at the last minute, you have to scramble,” Shelton said.

Shelton’s bill calls for $1.2 million from the state’s general fund to be sent to the DOT to complete the repairs, working with the city of Green Bay.

“Ask anyone who lives here and they know the importance of the bridges,” said Shelton.

And she says it’s time the state steps up.

“Now is the time to address the issue there, of replacing the hydraulic system,” Shelton said.

Before yet another Green Bay bridge closes down.

The city is spending $150,000 working with a consultant to develop plans for replacing the bridge’s hydraulic system.

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