Watertown Plank in Tosa shut off from northbound U.S. 45
Restrictions also cut access from 84th Street to I-94
Drivers headed to U.S. Highway 45 northbound won't be able to get there from Watertown Plank Road for about a year following the closure of the entrance ramp last Saturday.
Swan Boulevard also has closed in both directions between Watertown Plank Road and, for the time being, Underwood Parkway, until the new Discovery Parkway opens in a few weeks. Swan should be open in both directions in a new configuration late this year.
The new Swan will cross Highway 45 and connect to Watertown Plank west of the highway, at the intersection of Innovation Drive.
These closures are a sign that work in earnest is beginning on a new, free-flowing interchange that will link Watertown Plank and Highway 45, which is not expected to open until late 2014, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The work will include the full closure of Watertown Plank Road under Highway 45 in early January, including all exit and entrance ramps linking the routes, and the park-and-ride lot south of Watertown Plank and west of Highway 45. Access to the Juvenile Court Center, just west of the highway, will be maintained, said Emlynn Grisar, communications manager for the DOT's southeast region.
Pedestrian bridge begins
In fact, as highway access in several directions is suddenly restricted, it would be hard to blame a Wauwatosa driver for feeling a little boxed in.
Getting on I-94 from Wauwatosa on its south end is now harder to achieve after the weekend closure of both east- and west-bound entrance ramps to the expressway at 84th Street. Also, Kearney Street, south of the highway, which served as a feeder to I-94 ramps, is shut down from 84th to 76th streets. The ramps and Kearney will remain closed until next summer, according to the DOT.
One of the gifts of the DOT's vast Zoo Interchange project will be a pedestrian bridge over Watertown Plank Road from the Ronald McDonald House, north of the road, to a parking structure connecting to Children's Hospital. Work on the bridge starts next week, Grisar said. The Ronald McDonald House shelters families of children under care at the hospital.
The pedestrian bridge also will be open to the general public, and will have entry points from the ground level on each side of Watertown Plank Road, said City Attorney Alan Kesner.
As if shutting down highway ramps isn't enough, Underwood Parkway will be closed from just past the driveway of the High Pointe building, near Watertown Plank, to a point outside the Wisconsin Lutheran College football stadium. The DOT will be building a roundabout linking the new Swan with Underwood.
How to get around
Detour routes are as follows:
· To reach northbound Highway 45 from westbound Watertown Plank, use Discovery Parkway, when it opens, and the open portion of Swan to reach North Avenue. Travel west to the North Avenue ramps.
For those traveling east on Watertown Plank, take Mayfair Road to North Avenue.
· To reach westbound I-94 from 84th Street, take Bluemound Road west to Mayfair Road, and travel south to its access ramps.
To go east on I-94 from 84th Street, take Bluemound east to 76th Street, and travel south to the open portion of Kearney, and follow it east to the access ramps.
From the south side, the DOT recommends Greenfield Avenue and 70th Street as an alternate route to the expressway.
Staging site agreed on
In related news, Kesner said a site on state land off Underwood Parkway, across from the Hansen Golf Course Clubhouse, would be used by a DOT contractor for storage and staging of materials. The site, on land owned by the Department of Natural Resources, is part of a 67-acre parcel that includes a forest to be used by the Forest Exploration Center and its school, the University Lab School.
Kesner said the contractors do not have permission to use the site for concrete crushing or concrete batch plant operations under current contracts.
The DOT has long used the site for storage of heavy beams for the Zoo Interchange project. Kesner said he believed the beams would be moved from the site.
Utilities for a trailer for personnel also are located at the site. A trailer was located there by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District when the floodwater basins were dug there, but Kesner said the placement of a trailer by the DOT was not discussed.
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