The new Swan Boulevard, built on an immense curving bridge that crosses Highway 45, looks almost done — and it will be open for business by Dec. 21, Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Pyritz said.
The new Swan connects to Watertown Plank Road across the street from Innovation Drive, and is the central feature in a reconfiguration involving Underwood Creek Parkway, the Wisconsin Lutheran College athletic fields and the Wangard Partners' High Pointe office building on the corner of Mayfair and Watertown Plank roads.
Lanes to all these destinations are now connected by a roundabout. Underwood Parkway's outlet onto Watertown Plank will be modified so that through-traffic will use the roundabout, as will those driving to the Wangard building, Pyritz said.
A lane that courses north from the roundabout, alongside the new Swan, provides access to the Wisconsin Lutheran parking lot outside the stadium. This easier access, and the movement of Underwood to the west, is likely to reduce the number of cars parking along the parkway during football games in the stadium.
When it opens, Swan, and Discovery Parkway — the city's new road through Innovation Campus, past the Eschweiler Buildings — will provide a key route giving drivers access to Watertown Plank Road on either side of Highway 45, Pyritz noted.
Watertown Plank will shut down completely under the highway Jan. 6 and stay closed for most of next year, as a large, new, high-speed interchange is built reconnecting it to the highway.
Just part of the plan
These developments are just part of what is currently under way on the Zoo Interchange project.
Mayfair Road, which has been under almost continuous construction for months, has lately been under construction in the middle, at turn lanes from I-94 to just north of Watertown Plank. It should be completely open, weather permitting, Friday or Monday, Pyritz said.
The current work has been to replace temporary signals at the intersections along Mayfair with high-tech, permanent signals.
The signal project involves key intersections on Watertown Plank Road, Bluemound Road, Wisconsin Avenue, Innovation Drive and Swan Boulevard.
This new, adaptive signal network will allow the signals to "talk to one another," Pyritz said, using cameras and microwave detectors to scan and regulate traffic flow, instead of simply responding to preset patterns.
Disconnections to I-94
Farther south on Mayfair, some ramps connecting it to I-94 have been or will be closing.
Work has begun to shift northbound traffic on the east Mayfair bridge to the southbound, or west, bridge, so that two lanes of traffic will be going in each direction on the one bridge.
This is to prepare for the demolition of the east, or northbound, bridge. Pyritz said this will take place Thursday and Friday, shutting down I-94 entirely late Thursday night, and eastbound traffic on I-94 Friday night.
The bridge will be demolished using cranes mounted with huge jackhammers, Pyritz said.
A railroad ramp in that area also will be replaced.
The looping ramp that lets traffic heading west on I-94 go south on Mayfair will be closed, and next week, the ramp that allows southbound traffic on Mayfair to loop around and go east on I-94 will be closing.
Some ramps in the core of the interchange will be closed beginning this week, he said. But ramps from Mayfair to westbound 94 will remain open for most of the rest of the project.
The Mayfair work extends closer to the heart of the interchange, which, through all this preparatory work, still has yet to be tackled.
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