Wauwatosa bridge replacement touted as preview of coming improvements from infrastructure bill

NOW: Wauwatosa bridge replacement touted as preview of coming improvements from infrastructure bill

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WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- We're learning more specifics about how the infrastructure bill awaiting president Biden's signature could be impacting you in the coming years.

A nearly 100-year-old Wauwatosa bridge is soon to be replaced, now with nearly $3 million more state dollars in place to help pay for the over $4.5 million project. It's being touted as a preview of what this infrastructure bill will mean for you.

"We have an old bridge, a historic bridge, one that has served us well over the years, but we have flooding issues, we have issues with school children crossing the road safely," said Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride.

He said the replacement to the West Wisconsin Avenue bridge over Honey Creek will be higher up, so in a hundred-year flood, it'll be safe to cross still, and it'll be maintaining it's historic design.

McBride said the project, scheduled to start construction in 2023, is the first of many infrastructure issues he would like to see targeted.

State officials said the bridge is a good example of the type of project that will benefit from the infrastructure bill.

"It's going to be money that will be wisely invested on, you know, projects like this all across the state," said Governor Tony Evers.

Evers said while this bill is a long time coming, it means big changes across the state and beyond.

"It will change the face of our country, frankly," said Evers.

WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said they're already developing plans on how to use the funds.

"We're going to have five years to spend that money once it comes in," said Thompson.

He said so far, the biggest thing they know is it's a significant increase over what they typically get.

"For the highway side in the aggregate, it's about $5.2 billion, a $1.3 million increase over what we otherwise would've gotten, about $225 million for mass transit, over $100 million for our airports," said Thompson

Govenor Evers also emphasized the need for lead lateral replacement, talking about looking into replacing 75 years' worth of lead laterals in Milwaukee.

Mayor McBride also mentioned he's hoping the fund will help replace 10,000 lead laterals in Wauwatosa.

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