Posted at 3:15 p.m. on June 7, 2019
The Brillion News
MADISON – On June 6, the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance adopted a motion to enumerate a major improvement of I-41 in Outagamie and Brown counties, the portion of the freeway that runs roughly 23 miles between Wisconsin Avenue in Grand Chute and Scheuring Road in De Pere.
The motion allocates $4 million in the first year of the budget and $2 million in the second year for environmental review studies and an interchange report. The Department of Transportation would also be required by the motion to construct an interchange in De Pere at Southbridge Road.
That is expected to lead from 41 to a new “south bridge” over the Fox River in De Pere which would link up with County GV in Ledgeview on the east side of the Fox River.
That request – for the southern bypass bridge in De Pere – was made by State Senator Andre Jacque, R-De Pere.
The Joint Finance Committee voted to incorporate his request to provide funding for the construction of a new bridge for southern Brown County and begin the first phase of Highway 41 lane expansion between De Pere and Appleton. The project will offer essential access to the interstate highway system for industrial parks and businesses on both sides of the Fox River, reduce congestion in downtown De Pere, increase safety for travelers, and give certainty to local and regional planning efforts.
Jacque’s motion enumerates the new interchange needed at Highway 41 and Southbridge Road in De Pere, which is expected to leverage the Federal funding to build the southern bridge itself, and funds $6 Million over the biennium for the required federal environmental review process and interchange access reports necessary to proceed.
The construction of the interchange would also be the start of the first phase of the vital Highway 41 lane expansion between De Pere and Appleton.
State Representative Dave Murphy, R–Greenville, a longtime proponent of the 41 improvement project, praised the decision.
“The adoption of this motion by my Republican colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee is an incredible first step in a long road to getting this critical project started and giving the people of Fox Valley the safe roads we deserve,” Murphy said. “If we don’t get the ball rolling on this now, it will never be done. Starting the I-41 planning phase in this budget gives businesses and commuters the confidence they need to remain in our community long into the future.”
Fox Valley business leaders and public officials have joined Murphy in calling for improvement of the freeway. If the enumeration is signed into law by Governor Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will need to complete a federal environmental review process and interchange access reports before any construction may begin.
“No freeway is built overnight, but our Republican budget ensures that we will head in the right direction. I’m hopeful Governor Evers will recognize the importance of signing the I-41 budget enumeration into law,” Murphy said.