Southbound Swan Boulevard will close Aug. 17 as the bridge spanning Highway 45 is demolished, and it will remain closed through late December, Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokeswoman Emlynn Grisar said this week.
Drivers used to accessing Watertown Plank Road or southbound Highway 45 from Swan Boulevard are advised to use North Avenue, Mayfair Road, and Watertown Plank Road to get around the closure. Northbound lanes on Swan will remain open.
In other DOT news, Glenview Avenue is scheduled to re-open early in the morning on Aug. 19, Grisar said.
Construction has begun on the extension of Swan Boulevard. A new bridge over Highway 45 will carry Swan further west, to meet Watertown Plank Road across the street from Innovation Drive.
The park-and-ride lot on the north side of Watertown Plank Road, just west of Highway 45, will be closed in the coming weeks as a result of the rebuilding of Swan, according to the DOT. The south lot, across Watertown Plank, will remain open.
East-West Freeway project
In other Wauwatosa transportation news, exits at 68th and 70th streets are likely to remain unchanged in the planned reconstruction of the Interstate 94 East-West Freeway, scheduled to begin in 2019, according to a public presentation last week at the Pettit National Ice Center.
The ramps are heavily used by Wauwatosa residents.
The full project, which may cost $1.2 billion, spans 2.85 miles of I-94, from 70th Street to 25th Street. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation began studying reconstruction last year and has held four public input sessions, including the one last week. Another will be held in the fall.
Residents and other stakeholders expressed concern about possible reduced access to the freeway from either of the two Tosa exits. A combined diamond interchange at 70th Street, a frontage road, and complex ramp systems were all rejected as incurring "significantly more impacts and costs" than the current design, the DOT said in a project document.
The current design uses ramps connecting to O'Conner Street north of the highway to move traffic off of and onto the westbound lanes, and Kearney Street on the south side to move traffic off of and onto the eastbound lanes.
The reconstructed freeway will be one lane wider in each direction, the DOT said. Collector-distributor roads incorporating O'Connor and Kearney is the alternative selected.
The cemetery segment
The DOT has identified two options to solve the knotty problem of expanding the highway in the narrow passage between cemeteries, from Hawley Road east to Mitchell Boulevard, without relocating graves.
One would be to squeeze lanes from 12 feet wide to 11 feet, reduce the shoulder width from the preferred 8 to 12 feet to 18 inches, relocate the Mitchell Boulevard interchange and eliminate the Hawley Road interchange, said spokesman Mike Pyritz. The DOT says this choice would not meet all the goals of the project and would significantly compromise safety. It is, however, the cheaper and simpler of the two options.
The second alternative is to build a double-deck highway, putting one set of lanes on top of the other. This would fully meet the goals of the project, but would cost significantly more and would disrupt traffic a lot more during construction, the DOT said.
In some DOT renderings, the double-deck option shows high walls between the freeway and the cemeteries, eliminating a sense of connectedness between them. Other pictures show arched openings that preserve a visual connection.
If the double-deck option is selected, the lower lane may be at grade level; in other, more costly options, the DOT has considered putting the lanes entirely below grade level, or partially so, which would require Hawley and Mitchell to go up and over the freeway, Pyritz said.
Among other features, the DOT is proposing to eliminate the Mitchell Boulevard interchange and replace it with an access point farther east, and, at the stadium interchange, construct a "hybrid of free-flow ramps and other ramps that include traffic signals on Miller Park Way." This would produce a smaller "footprint" than free-flow interchange options, the DOT said.
More information on this and other projects will be available at SeFreeways.org.
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