A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
I used to brag to my Illinois family and friends about how we do road construction in Wisconsin. "We finish it," I'd say. "In Illinois, projects seem to take years."
Lately, I'm feeling like there's nothing to brag about. If you live in Wauwatosa, and you drive, you are SURROUNDED by construction. And it's going to be that way for a long, LONG time.
Want to go southwest of the village? Don't take the Harmonee Bridge. It's down to one lane and backed up throughout the village.
Want to get on Highway 45 south or 94 west? Swan Boulevard is closed for a year.
Want to get to Highway 100 and Bluemound? Pack a lunch. It will take a while.
And now, we are told that the zoo interchange project is about to get underway. Sure, why not?
Look, I'm all for progress, but it's starting to feel like the department of transportation is working very hard to keep Tosans from getting out or keep others from getting in. If I need to get to Brookfield or points west, I have to think long and hard about how early to leave and how to get there. If you live near the village, you basically have to go up to North Avenue to go anywhere west...even if your western destination is south.
And as frustrated as I am driving through the construction, I can only imagine how difficult it is to run a business in or near a construction zone. When I interviewed Jen Gotto from Mo's Irish Pub, she said people called all the time assuming that the restaurant was closed because of the heavy construction at Hwy 100 and Bluemound.
My wish for all of this construction (besides that it finish quickly) is that whoever is in charge think through commutes. If you're going to close Swan Boulevard, why work on the Harmonee Bridge at the same time? Many of us use Watertown Plank instead, but now that's impossible. People trying to get to and from Froedtert Hospital are really in for a challenging ride.
But, I'm sure my complaints and those of my neighbors will fall on deaf ears. Progress (and construction) will happen despite our protests. Guess we have to grin and bear it.