Interstate 43 over the Fox River in Green Bay was closed to traffic on Wednesday after a support pier on the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge sunk almost 2 feet, causing the road surface above to drop accordingly. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
An underground fuel pipeline lies about 12 feet from a support pier for a highway bridge that unexpectedly sank about 2 feet in Green Bay, state and pipeline officials said Monday.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesman Kim Rudat said the pipeline is sound and has been clearly marked. There no danger to the workers or the pipeline, he said.
“There’s no concern except we are certainly aware of it,” he said.
Transportation officials are still trying figure out why a concrete support pier for the Leo Frigo Bridge unexpectedly sank about 2 feet Wednesday, causing a deep dip in the pavement and leading authorities to shutter the span. The bridge carried about 40,000 cars a day over the Fox River on Interstate 43.
The pipeline, owned by West Shore Pipe Line Co. of Illinois, originates in Chicago and serves the Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison markets.
The line in Green Bay, which carries gasoline and diesel, is about 12 feet underground and runs parallel to the bridge, said Patrick Hodgins, the company’s director of health, safety, security and environmental.
They aren’t concerned but are monitoring the situation and can turn the pipeline off easily, he said. He said they have marked the line and will have someone onsite whenever there is digging, he said.
“We don’t see any impact for us at this time,” he said.
It’s not a main line, but a lateral one that is 8 inches in diameter. It can carry up to 70,000 barrels a day, he said.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Monday was checking Monday whether it has jurisdiction.
The pier in question and others haven’t moved since Wednesday, Rudat said.
The pier settled unevenly, with one side dipping 22 inches and the other settling about 27 inches. The dip in the pavement stretches across the width of the bridge, but does not appear to have affected other areas, a DOT engineer has said. To detect any movement, engineers have attached equipment similar to seismographs that would sound alarms.
Gov. Scott Walker declared Friday the closure of bridge a disaster. It could lead to federal reimbursement for the first 180 days of repair work.
The bridge, which opened in 1981, was last inspected in 2012, Rudat said. It’s named for Leo Frigo, a former cheese company president who founded a food pantry for the poor in Green Bay.