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Coalition Opposes DOT Proposal to Expand I-94 East-West Corridor

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DOT
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From Hoan Bridge detours to the Zoo Interchange construction, traffic cones seem to be everywhere. Opposition is mounting for a DOT project in Milwaukee that hasn’t even been begun.

The proposed project involves the area between the Marquette Interchange to the east and the Zoo Interchange to the west – zeroing in on 3.5 miles stretching from 16th Street to 70th Street.

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Credit DOT

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:

"This portion of the I-94 East-West Freeway corridor opened to traffic in 1961 and 1962. It is the link between the Marquette Interchange and Zoo Interchange. It plays a key role in moving commuters, tourists, freight and other movements to major sites around and beyond the Southeast region of the state. WisDOT has maintained and rehabilitated the ramps, bridges, pavements and other structures a number of times over the past 50 years, but the corridor is nearing the end of its useful life. Now is the time to take the next steps to determine how the corridor should be rebuilt to ensure that it serves the economy of Southeastern Wisconsin for decades to come."

DOT proposes either widening the section or creating a double deck roadway. The estimated cost of either is $1.1 billion.

A group calling itself the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation formed in opposition to both plans. The group’s position includes:

  • The proposal is too expensive.
  • Monies should be targeted to the repair and maintenance of local road and bridges.
  • Fewer people are driving – driving in the Milwaukee region dropped by 20.9 % between 2006 and 2011.
  • A recent regional transportation survey shows young citizens in Milwaukee favor increased investments in transit rather than highways.

Opposition is not restricted to the Coalition. Milwaukee’s Common Council has passed four resolutions opposing the DOT’s suggested strategies.
Alderman Robert Bauman attended a town hall meeting earlier this week, hosted by the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation. Bauman says the City of Milwaukee hopes to convince the DOT to consider a “rebuild as is” approach for the East-West I-94 corridor.

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Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.