DE PERE, Wis. – After years of delays, the goal of adding a long-awaited southern bridge in De Pere took a vital step forward last Thursday.

Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee voted to provide funding for the construction of a southern bridge in De Pere, as well as lane expansions between De Pere and Appleton on I-41.

“We are thrilled to clear this major hurdle,” said De Pere Mayor Michael Walsh. “This is something I’ve been working on tirelessly over the years, and while this isn’t the final step, it’s a major one in getting a much-needed southern bridge built in our area. A second bridge would be a major catalyst for our City and the region as we look to grow and thrive in the decades to come, spur new business development, and increase driver safety by reducing congestion.”

Mayor Walsh said he was thankful for the efforts of Senator Andre Jacque, Senator Robert Cowles and Representative John Nygren, who helped pave the way for Wisconsin DOT to receive budget consideration and potential funding for this important project, along with the efforts of Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach, and the Greater Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Jayme Sellen.  Beyond that, the Mayor is also grateful for those who have continually advocated and pushed state lawmakers to consider southern bridge funding for Brown County, including members of the De Pere City Council; the town boards of Lawrence and Ledgeview; and many other groups, businesses, residents and government leadership from the greater De Pere and Green Bay area.

Following this vote by the Joint Finance Committee, the state senate and assembly will next need to approve the funding plan, and Governor Evers will then need to give final approval. 

If funding is approved for these projects, a new interchange and expansion work on Highway 41 would provide critical initial infrastructure to support the southern bridge.

First, work would likely begin on a new interchange at Highway 41 and Southernbridge Road in De Pere. This interchange would also likely be the start of an opening phase of Highway 41 lane expansion between De Pere and Appleton, running approximately 23 miles between Scheuring Road and Highway 96. Funding would also go toward work on the bridge itself, as well as accommodating the federal environmental review process and interchange access reports necessary to proceed.