$800K emergency grant to allow repairs at the SS Badger in Manitowoc

SS Badger

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker announced on Tuesday, May 1 a $799,802 emergency Harbor Assistance Program (HAP) grant for repairs needed at the S.S. Badger, the Manitowoc, Wisconsin-Ludington, Michigan ferry.

High winds and heavy waves from a winter storm two weeks ago damaged loading equipment, structures and severely eroded the harbor side of the S.S. Badger facility.

With the current damage, the ferry is not able to operate. The vehicle apron approach needs to be reconstructed and a broken counterweight needs to be replaced. These repairs will be made by May 11. In addition, an armored retaining wall on the harbor side will be constructed to protect the terminal facility from severe wind and wave action in the future. The existing shoreline structure was not engineered and consists of a mix of construction debris and small diameter quarry stone. The new wall is expected to withstand the northeasterly wave and wind activity and will be substantially complete by opening day.

The dock is owned by the city of Manitowoc and the S.S. Badger leases the space. The cost of the full project is expected to be almost $1 million.

The S.S. Badger is one of the state’s six ferry services. This National Historic Landmark provides 4-hour passage between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. It accommodates approximately 85,000 passengers, 22,000 autos, and 1,300 commercial trucks. Broadwind Energy Inc. uses the ferry to ship wind tower sections to Michigan, saving about 300 miles of highway driving.