Urban Milwaukee
Photo Gallery

I-794 Comes Crumbling Down

A portion of freeway is getting torn down for new lakefront development plan. Our photos capture it.

By - Jan 15th, 2014 04:12 pm
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The demolition of I-794. Photo by Holly Segel.

The demolition of I-794. Photo by Holly Segel. Click image to enlarge

Demolition of I-794 from the Milwaukee River eastward, near the Milwaukee Public Market, started late last week and is moving quickly.

In the 90’s Mayor John Norquist proposed tearing down this segment of the East-West freeway and replacing it with a surface boulevard to better connect Downtown with the Historic Third Ward, but was thwarted in his efforts.  Today, the demolition is being conducted as part of a $172 million Hoan Bridge re-decking and Lake Interchange ramp reconfiguration project that, although it doesn’t quite fulfill Norquist’s dream, will add new high value developable land to downtown Milwaukee.

Rocky Marcoux, Department of City Development Commissioner, speaking at a recent Greater Milwaukee Committee meeting said that moving the ramps will open up enough space for a  “750,000 to 1 million square foot building,” to be built, possibly a national headquarters.

Photo Gallery by Holly Segel

5 thoughts on “Photo Gallery: I-794 Comes Crumbling Down”

  1. cgleiss says:

    Should have torn it down! I appreciate baby steps in removing and limiting the detrimental impact of the freeway footprint, but it is a shame that larger comprehensive effort was never realized. Can’t wait to see more development, activity and people downtown!

  2. Al says:

    Glad to see this reconfiguration move forward. Although Mayor Nordquist may have had his unfortunate indiscretions while in office, he was an urban design visionary for the city and I am glad to see all the improvements that he proposed/initiated when he was in office come to fruition, including this one.

  3. herb in planter says:

    Now that the freeway is coming down (temporarily), what will become of the Brighten the Passage design competition initiated by the Downtown BIDs and the City? A project was awarded, but it appears there is a disconnect between city initiative and WisDOT.

    http://www.historicthirdward.org/bid/brightenthepassage.php

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @herb Well it is my understanding that the city has pushed to get some work done as part of the reconfiguration that would at least allow (not do them but allow for) for some of the Brighten ideas to happen, but I haven’t heard in awhile where that is.http://urbanmilwaukee.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

  5. roz says:

    great photographs. what is it about half torn down anything? the shots are always quite beautiful.

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