State authorities closed the bridge that carries traffic northbound on Highway 45 through the Zoo Interchange shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, fearing that overweight trucks could collapse the deteriorating span.
Roughly 42,000 vehicles a day will be detoured off the major northbound route for nearly two months, until a replacement for the bridge can be finished. Work on that started in January, as part of an emergency project to replace three bridges found in need of immediate replacement.
An inspection of the Highway 45 bridge on Thursday night revealed that cracks in the concrete supports had widened and lengthened. With the new information, Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi ordered the roadway closed on Friday morning.
“This is a public safety action,” said Ryan Luck, construction director with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “There’s no room to gamble on this.”
Northbound traffic will be detoured onto I-94 east, routed onto N. 84th St., then to northbound Highway 45 via westbound I-94. To accommodate the added traffic, the segment of N. 84th St. at the interstate will be closed.
It was, however, an avoidable disaster. Politicians, including Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett, had advocated putting off rebuilding this interchange for years. And Governor Doyle has been raiding the transportation fund in every single budget he’s signed. Actions have consequences. When we start hearing Barrett and Doyle griping about needing a train, just look at the job they do maintaining our current critical transportation infrastructure.
Mayor Barrett will come to regret these words (if he doesn’t already), “Unlike the Marquette Interchange, the Zoo Interchange will stand long enough to resolve these issues.”
Far be it from me to defend either Barrett or Doyle, but from what I have seen, the decision to rebuild the southern end of 94 was based on expediency, rather than politics, or ineptitude. The southern end of 94 already had all of the environmental studies and such done, and therefore, could start ahead of the westbound section of 94/45. I could be wrong, and I could be naive. However, I think that hindsight may be coloring our vision a bit on this one….
Not to suggest the affair with the Zoo interchange isn’t a debacle, but it’s not going to swing many votes. This isn’t Barrett’s fault any more than it’s Walker’s fault (it’d be more accurately blamed on Doyle and his GOP predecessors). And nobody outstate gives a crap about the interchange or Fred Lubar or Talgo or any of it.
Walker, Neumann, and Barrett are all at around 50-55% name ID. You can bet your bottom dollar the people answering “never heard of him” live somewhere outside of southeast Wisconsin, where all three have held elective office. The first of them to pivot away from Milwaukee and towards all the low-hanging fruit available outstate will make a sizable step towards his possible success in November.
This isn’t Barrett’s fault any more than it’s Walker’s fault (it’d be more accurately blamed on Doyle and his GOP predecessors).
Barrett wanted the project nixed and Doyle line-item vetoed it. How is that not Barrett’s fault?
Wasn’t Barrett pandering to the enviro-wienies who didn’t want to expand the freeway east of the Zoo to 4 lanes because cars are evil and they had to stop global warming?
That’s what I remember anyway.
They neglected the bussiest interchange in the state that is used by 300,000 passengers per day so they can focus on a choo choo that may, might, maybe carry 500,000 per year.
And the bottom line is that it’s a regional issue and the affected region is perhaps the most clearly stratified political region in the state (other than Dane County). Or am I supposed to believe that this gubernatorial election is going to hinge on all those swing voters in Brookfield whose vote might hinge solely on how this project is handled?
This is on Barrett and Doyle. Barrett for years stonewalled re-doing our freeway system correctly. Doyle’s sat playing with trains and raiding the transportation fund while letting Frank B. shake down the road builders for contributions.
And this impacts people on all sides of town. Think of all the people in the northwest quadrant who work on the South side of town or need to get to the airport. Or the south side guys who want to get up to their cabins/etc in Fond Du Lac and parts north. Good Luck Brewers as well.
For anyone who has been to real cities that have done it right, it was pretty apparent that whole Marquette/Zoo artery system needed to be expanded to 4 lanes north/south/east/west a long time ago. But we started out with this anti-car attitude courtesy of our former mayor Johnny Zero.
Keld, at the time the North-South rebuild was announced as the post-Marquette Interchange rebuild back in 2004, neither it nor the Zoo Interchange had an Environmental Impact Study done. The “expediency” was Barrett’s opposition to expanding I-94 in the city of Milwaukee.
I blame Bush. Oh, and Scott Walker. All aboard the Barrett/Doyle choo-choo!
Steevegg, I am going to have to defer to you, as my sense of history, as well as my desire to research, is minimal. However, I do remember there being a pragmatic cause as to why the 94 southbound exchange was performed first. And yes, I know that the expansion of 94 westbound to four lanes has always been a bugaboo, as it should, honestly.
The expansion of 94 westbound would have significant effect on the city.
Should it be done? Yes probably, however, I don’t won’t it to be approached with the cavalierness (not a word, by the way) that the many counties outside of Milwaukee treat it. Like I said, the expansion of 94 to four lanes would have a significantly greater impact on Milwaukee than it would have on Waukesha or Washington counties.
Did Barrett say it would stand or it would be used.
With no trucks on it, it could stand indefinitely.
However, I do remember there being a pragmatic cause as to why the 94 southbound exchange was performed first.
Yah. That’s because the eng’g and enviro studies for the Zoo were nixed by Doyle at the explicit request of Barrett.
Barrett, like NorQ, would prefer that no one can escape from the City of Milwaukee if at all possible…
The reason rebuilding of the Zoo Interchange was punted down the road by the Gov was it meant making a determination of whether or not to expand I-94 through Milwaukee (plus 894 and 45) to 4 lanes. While we all know it must be done, it would mean displaying some leadership, without the “requirement” from the Gov of campaign donations to his war chest, plus the eco-nut opposition of Tom “MIA” Barrett, there was no real chance of this happening. I assume the hope was that the Zoo Int. would last until Walker took over, then collapse, enabling the Dems to blame him. Needless to say, the plan nearly backfired. Nearly, because the Demo-cheerleading media will never point out exactly who to blame. Besides which, if they would have, years ago, completed 145 to downtown, the pressure on the Zoo Int. would have been lessened.