Zoo Interchange project area expanded
May 28, 2008 -- The Zoo Interchange reconstruction area has been significantly expanded, bringing it further into Milwaukee and closer to Story Hill, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The project area now extends from N. 70th St. on the east to N. 124th St. on the west, and from W. Burleigh St. on the north to W. Lincoln Ave. on the south.
Originally, project boundaries were 76th St. on the east, 116th St. on the west, the Union Pacific Railroad south of Greenfield Ave. on the south, and Center St. on the north.
No cost estimates for the project yet are available.
The boundary changes follow a pattern set with the North-South I-94 reconstruction area, which WisDOT expanded after the first wave of public attention to the project faded.
Enlarging the Zoo Interchange area is a safety issue, according to the consulting team working on the project -- auxiliary lanes can be built from on-ramps at Greenfield Ave., 84th St., and North Ave. to the next exit ramps at Lincoln Ave., 70th St., and Burleigh St., respectively.
Constructing the auxiliary lanes -- which are designed to improve the operations of the freeway rather than add traffic capacity -- will cut down on weaving and speed changes by some drivers getting on and off the freeway, according to the consultants.
Lengthening the western leg will allow drivers more distance to get up to freeway speeds before having to merge, with other traffic lanes.
The Department of Transportation last week presented seven design alternatives for the Zoo Interchange project. Four of them, though, likely are not under serious consideration because they do not change left-hand exit and entrance ramps to right-hand ramps, as WisDOT prefers to do.
The remaining three alternatives do not call for additional traffic lanes along the freeway, but would make room to add lanes in the future, if studies call for them.
The three most likely alternatives have varying degrees of negative impacts, ranging from the potential razing of the Boy Scout headquarters and a fire station on S. 84th St., to reducing the size of the Honey Creek Corporate Center near State Fair Park, to relocation of major We Energies infrastructure, to destroying a varying number of homes.
Ald. Michael Murphy, who represents the Zoo Interchange areas, said the most damaging of the alternatives could remove millions of dollars from the city's property tax rolls.
WisDOT will hold another public meeting May 29 to present the alternatives. The meeting will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wauwatosa West High School 11400 W. Center St., Wauwatosa.
May 12, 2008 -- Zoo Interchange reconstruction likely will delay the extension of the Hank Aaron west of 94th Pl., according to trail manager Melissa Cook, of the Department of Natural Resources.
Reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange is scheduled to begin in 2012.
There are six overpasses or ramps will be demolished and rebuilt during the project that pass directly over the Hank Aaron trail, Cook said.
"That would be really problematic to have that interact with pedestrians and bicyclists,"she said.
The Hank Aaron Trail will be extended along an abandoned rail line that runs through the Veteran's Administration grounds to the Waukesha County line.
Cook made her comments during a recent meeting held to discuss changes to the Hank Aaron trail master plan.
Preliminary design and engineering will continue for the entire trail, she said.
"We're hoping, and what we're thinking, is that we would be able to build the trail at least out to 94th Place where it crosses the road at grade and then to plan another route that would function as a temporary route to get people through to the Oak Leaf Trail while this construction is going on," she said.
side, Story Hill, could face huge impacts from Zoo Interchange project