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Leo Frigo Bridge sinks further; federal funding approved

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Further settling at Pier 22 on the Leo Frigo Bridge has forced state Department of Transportation officials to announce plans to put put support towers.

The sinking is due to corrosion in the piling under that pier, according to the DOT, leading to a dip in the roadway first discovered last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the DOT also announced Friday that federal emergency funds have been approved for the bridge that carries Interstate 43 over the Fox River in Green Bay.

Crews had been monitoring the bridge since last week, and had not detected any further sinking until Thursday, when the pier sank half an inch.

The support towers are expected to be put up in the next few days, the DOT says.

For the first time Friday, the DOT announced an estimated cost to repair the bridge.

Officials have put the price tag at $50 million, though that number could change, they cautioned. Federal funding will cover all repairs for the first 180 days of the process, then will cover 90 percent of the costs after that.

The process for federal emergency funding was begun last week when Gov. Scott Walker declared a transportation emergency. The Federal Highway Administration has determined that the bridge design and construction met acceptable standards and it has been properly maintained and inspected, thus making it eligible for the emergency funds.

"It does not appear to FHWA that there is anything that the State could have reasonably done to have anticipated or avoided this failure," FHWA Division Administrator George Poirier wrote in a letter to the state DOT.