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I-94 closure 'smooth as could be'

Construction equipment is seen in the Highway 100 overpass over I-94 late Friday night, July 18, in Wauwatosa. The Zoo Interchange was closed at 11 p.m. Friday and remained closed until 5:30 a.m. Monday.

Construction equipment is seen in the Highway 100 overpass over I-94 late Friday night, July 18, in Wauwatosa. The Zoo Interchange was closed at 11 p.m. Friday and remained closed until 5:30 a.m. Monday. Photo By Peter Zuzga

July 22, 2014

After months of coordination in preparation for the closure of part of I-94 July 18-21, state and local officials are breathing a sigh of relief.

"There was so much planning that went into it that it was pretty seamless," said Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber. "I went through there a couple times over the weekend, and it was smoother than usual."

The closure spanned all lanes of I-94 from the Zoo Interchange to Highway 100, just south of Wauwatosa's border. With the Zoo Interchange being the busiest interchange in the state, the Department of Transportation projected traffic backups and delays.

DOT spokesman Michael Pyritz said department officials prepared for the weekend by warning local businesses there would be increased traffic on city streets and working with local law enforcement.

Weber said the Wauwatosa Police Department stationed extra patrols by exits on Bluemound Road and had officers manually direct traffic near 95th Street and Bluemound to keep it flowing as quickly as possible. He also said he wasn't aware of any traffic accidents as a result of the closure.

"The state did a lot of planning on this," Weber said. "Couldn't be happier."

During the closure, construction workers placed a rail bridge for Union Pacific overhead and installed a storm sewer pipe. They also demolished the west span of Highway 100, which will be reconstructed as part of a new interchange.

Pyritz said the shutdown did cause increased traffic on Bluemound and Greenfield roads, but it was "well within those roads' abilities to handle that traffic."

"It went as smooth as could be," he added. "From everything we saw, it looked like a lot of the motorists were getting the message that the work was taking place; they did use the resources available to plan alternate routes to make sure they got where they were going, and it went very smoothly."

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