MANITOWOC – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker helped Manitowoc officials celebrate the groundbreaking for $4 million in repairs to the S.S. Badger dock.
Walker was joined by U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Dave Ross and Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels during the Monday celebration.
“It’s (the car ferry) a great asset, not only for here, but for anything water-based throughout the Great Lakes,” Walker said.
The S.S. Badger is one of six ferries in Wisconsin and provides four-hour passage between Manitowoc and Ludington, Michigan, for passengers and vehicles. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016.
The project will update the docking and berthing facilities in Manitowoc, which are approximately 70 years old.
In mid-April, a sudden spring storm caused damage to the loading structure and severely eroded the harbor side of the S.S. Badger facility. An emergency $800,000 HAP grant was given to the city for repairs before the ferry began its 2018 sailing schedule, which started May 11.
In 2017, the federal government awarded a $5 million grant for work on both the Ludington and Manitowoc docks. Manitowoc also received a $2 million Wisconsin HAP grant to replace a seawall at the ferry dock.
“I think this is the type of thing the federal fund should be used for, a kind of interstate commerce,” said Grothman. “It does so much to connect Wisconsin and Michigan.”
Work on the repairs will begin in October, after the S.S. Badger completes its sailing season and will be completed by May 2019 before the ferry sets sail again.