The state’s department of transportation is moving forward with a proposal that will expand the freeway to eight lanes, rejecting a ‘Fix at Six’ plan that would have kept the existing six lanes.
After years of debate and delays, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has selected an eight-lane expansion plan for Interstate 94 in Milwaukee, despite calls from community activists and. environmental advocates to keep the road at six lanes and focus on safety improvements and maintenance instead. Jeramey Jannene describes the project for Urban Milwaukee.
The agency’s proposed design includes one new lane in each direction and a diverging diamond to replace the Stadium Interchange. “The diverging diamond concept, first unveiled in June, would involve the north-south roadways through the interchange running underneath the elevated east-west freeway.” As Jannene explains, “The design strategy results in fewer collision points than a traditional interchange because on-off ramp access doesn’t involve crossing lanes.”
Opponents of the expansion say the project ignores community concerns. Elizabeth Ward, director of Sierra Club Wisconsin Chapter, said “This proposal will increase water and climate pollution, health problems, racial disparities, and more. WisDOT needs to reconsider and move forward with a Fix at Six solution.”
The agency says it plans to invest $25 million in “transit solutions” to minimize disruption during construction. According to Jannene, “County officials have hoped to use some of the funding to support the development of the 27th Street bus rapid transit line. The project plan also calls for improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure near the freeway.”
Local council members Michael Murphy and Robert Bauman are among the plan’s detractors, saying, “To invest such a hefty sum of money into a project that will disrupt businesses and homeowners represents spending priorities that do not align with what people want, especially when traffic volume doesn’t justify the need for additional lanes.”
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