Sturgeon Bay Bridge
Sturgeon Bay Bridge
The Sturgeon Bay Bridge in 2009, with the bascule draw span (at the far end) open
|Locale||Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin|
|Total length||1,420 feet (430 m)|
|Width||24.0 feet (7.3 m)|
|Clearance above||11.5 feet (3.5 m)|
Sturgeon Bay Bridge
|Nearest city||Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin|
|NRHP reference #||07001420 |
|Added to NRHP||January 17, 2008|
|Daily traffic||15,300 (2005)|
The Sturgeon Bay Bridge (known as the Michigan Street Bridge) is a historic bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States. The bridge was built in 1929 and opened July 4, 1931, with a grand parade where it was officially dedicated as a Door County Veterans Memorial which plaques at either end still reads "To honor those who gave of themselves, to their country, in times of need" as a gift by the State of Wisconsin. The bridge carried Maple and Michigan Streets traffic, which was signed as Wisconsin Business Highway 42/57. The Sturgeon Bay Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2008. In September 2008, the bridge was closed to allow restoration work after the opening of a new parallel bridge nearby, and was reopened in the spring of 2011.
The Sturgeon Bay Bridge opened July 4, 1931. At the time of its opening, it was the second bridge in Sturgeon Bay, the first being the tool bridge to the north that also carried the Ahnapee and Western railroad line across the bay. It carried Wisconsin Highway 42 and Wisconsin Highway 57 until the Bay View Bridge was built in 1978, at which point the two highways were rerouted onto that bridge to bypass Sturgeon Bay. The Sturgeon Bay Bridge did not carry a state highway again until 2003, when Wisconsin Business Highway 42/57 was designated and routed onto the bridge.
The Sturgeon Bay Bridge underwent a major rehabilitation in 1979. By the 1990s, the bridge became notorious for needing maintenance; a Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesman said in 1999 that "we have been maintaining this bridge since it was built". The bridge was closed several times for repairs in the late 1990s, and the state began to look at plans to replace the bridge. The state's plans prompted the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation to list the bridge as one of the ten most endangered sites in Wisconsin. In 2002, the city of Sturgeon Bay and the state of Wisconsin agreed to build a second bridge in downtown Sturgeon Bay to avoid traffic congestion and cutting off northern Door County if the Michigan Street Bridge closed for repairs. The state agreed to designate the original bridge as a state business highway in 2003, allowing the state to construct and own a replacement bridge and marking another step toward the construction of a second bridge. After a city referendum in 2005, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed a bill to fund a second downtown bridge, and construction soon began on a bridge connecting Maple and Oregon streets.
Due to the uncertain fate of the Sturgeon Bay Bridge, a historic preservationist group called Citizens for Our Bridge formed to protect the bridge and secure funding for its restoration. The group sponsored a benefit concert, the Steel Bridge Songfest, in 2005; the concert was headlined by Jackson Browne and Green Bay native Pat MacDonald. Citizens for Our Bridge has held the concert annually since 2005; the 2009 concert included 150 performers, including Jane Wiedlin, James McMurtry, Freedy Johnston, Victor DeLorenzo, and Louise Goffin.
While the second bridge was being built, the Sturgeon Bay Bridge continued to fall into disrepair, and maintenance became urgently needed. A 2007 bridge inspection assessed the bridge as structurally deficient, mainly due to its poor superstructure and substructure. In July 2008, the bridge was closed to all traffic for two days because of structural problems; once it reopened, it still only carried light traffic, and a bridge tender and law enforcement rigidly enforced the weight limit. Once the Maple and Oregon Street Bridge opened on September 22[clarification needed], the Sturgeon Bay Bridge closed to all traffic again so repair work could be done. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation plans to restore the bridge due to its historic significance despite the opening of the second bridge. In December 2010 the bridge was reopened to foot and vehicle traffic. The bridge has been re-opened to foot and vehicle traffic after being painted in spring 2011. Newer features to the bridge include LED lights, traffic signals, and CCTV cameras.
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- "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-05-30.
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- Kubisiak, Kristen. "Residents come out to give bridge a test drive". Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Brinkmann, Paul (April 7, 2005). "Benefit concert aims to buoy Sturgeon Bay bridge". Green Bay Press-Gazette.
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- "Sturgeon Bay bridge projects". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
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