GREEN BAY – The closure of the Leo Frigo Bridge will be a headache for the Department of Transportation and for area drivers.
They're going to have to find other ways around Green Bay.
If you want to stay on the main thoroughfares, the DOT says you can simply use Hwy. 172 and Hwy. 41.
For more local travelers, the department's recommended route includes using Main St. to get across the Fox River.
Green Bay police sent out a notice that other bridges can also be used, specifically mentioning the Mason Street Bridge is designed to accommodate heavy traffic.
Drivers received their first taste of the impacts of the closure Wednesday. Traffic was busier than normal in some areas of Green Bay.
The Department of Transportation estimates almost 18,000 motorists cross the Nitschke Bridge each day.
Traffic counts on the Leo Frigo Bridge top the 40,000 mark.
So until people figure their best way to get around, this is going to be a very busy part of town.
The cones are up and the gates are down. The on-ramp from Webster Ave. to I-43 north is closed. On the west side, vehicles were forced off the interstate at Atkinson Dr. Many drivers are already feeling the effects.
It's a big hassle, because of all the construction that's going around town. The downtown bridge was closed for how long? Now this one is out? It's just like it's a never-ending problem here,” said Dennis Kelln of Green Bay.
“We have to plan to go downtown, shopping whatever. You have to plan more time, to go through downtown,” said Pedro Mendolla of Green Bay.
“Traffic is being routed into the city, and we're currently in the process of developing traffic plans in the event this bridge is closed for long term reasons,” said Lt. Kevin Warych, Green Bay Police Department.
Green Bay police and the City's Public Works Department set up detour signs funneling vehicles downtown.
“When the bridge is shut down, that put an extreme amount of traffic into the city of Green Bay. And we have officers working traffic intersections, most likely running the traffic control box,” said Warych.
As semi trucks squeeze through downtown traffic, drivers are asked to pack a little patience.
“It's a different route for them. They're going to experience more traffic than normal. They're going to go down streets that they may not have gone down normally. So it's a different environment. They need to be more aware of their surroundings and more aware of the traffic around them to prevent any accidents from happening,” said Warych.
And to complicate matters further, the Farmers' Market on Broadway is open Wednesday night and is scheduled through Oct. 16. Two-hundred vendors and thousands of people have crowded into the Broadway District.
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