Construction work that likely caused headaches for many families in the Wauwatosa School District and nearby residents for months has been completed just in time for the new school year.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Zoo Interchange Project team has announced that work on the Center Street Bridge is complete. The bridge serves as a link between Whitman Middle School on the east side of the of the interstate and Wauwatosa High School and Eisenhower Elementary School on the west side of the freeway.

The new bridge, which runs over Interstate 41, was unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 26. Work on the project began in the spring with a goal of reaching completion before the start of the new school year on Sept. 1. The project was finished a few days earlier than the promised date.

"It will be nice," said Superintendent Phil Ertl on the bridge reaching completion. "All the people who have been involved in fall activities have struggled."

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Michael Pyritz, a spokesperson for WisDOT said the project's scope included replacing the old structure with a new one. The old bridge was still structurally sound, Pyritz said, but it was nearing the end of its useful life cycle. The new bridge, he said, was designed to accommodate future construction for the Zoo Interchange Project, the largest transportation project in the state's history. Through the project, WisDOT will reconstruct the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee County.

Pyritz said drop-off and pick-up at the schools will be a lot easier now that construction on the bridge is complete. Overall, the project went smoothly because the school district "did a great job" communicating detours and closures with parents and students.

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