I-94 reconstruction project concerns West Allis leaders
Cody Holyoke reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
WEST ALLIS - It's a 50 year old stretch of highway in desperate need of a facelift. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking for options to rebuild Interstate 94 between 25th and 70th Streets.
TODAY'S TMJ4 has learned some of those options include shutting down exits like Hawley Road or the 68th and 70th Street ramps. Those exits are critical access points for the city of West Allis.
The West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce alerted local business owners after city
leaders warned them of a meeting last week with DOT officials.
City Engineer Peter Daniels tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Cody Holyoke the exits -- and their future -- were part of the discussion.
"It would make it more difficult for people to come to West Allis. It would be more time consuming, and we'd be afraid that we'd lose our visitors and our customers," said Diane Brandt, the chamber's executive director.
DOT engineers maintain no decision has been made and the project is years away.
"I wouldn't say [the exits] are on the chopping block, but everything is on the table to be considered," explained David Nguyen, the project's development chief.
One of the big issues for engineers is the space between exits. To account for more cars on the road and traffic congestion, new traffic guidelines suggest access points be spaced about a mile apart.
The DOT maintains there are six interchanges in their 2.85 mile project area.
"When they designed the interchange back in the 50s, the standards were a lot lower," Nguyen explained.
Business leaders claim those old designs helped their city grow.
"We tell everyone that we're very central and we have great access from the freeway, so we are concerned about this," Brandt said.
The DOT will hold a series of public meetings on the project to gather input from community members. The first meeting will take place Tuesday, August 21 at the Tommy Thompson Youth Center at State Fair Park. The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m.