Jeramey Jannene

State To Fund Road, Rails for Komatsu

$1.73 million helps fund lowering S. Kinnickinnic Ave. so trucks can get to huge Komatsu manufacturing campus.

By - Mar 9th, 2021 09:15 am
Railroad bridge over S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The roadway will be lowered to accommodate larger trucks entering and exiting Komatsu's South Harbor Campus. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Railroad bridge over S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The roadway will be lowered to accommodate larger trucks entering and exiting Komatsu’s South Harbor Campus. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is allocating $1.73 million to support the development of Komatsu Mining‘s South Harbor Campus project, billed as the largest urban manufacturing campus under development in the United States.

The company is constructing a three-story, 176,000-square-foot office building and 430,000-square-foot factory on a 59-acre site at the east end of E. Greenfield Ave. overlooking Milwaukee’s inner harbor.

The grants will partially cover the costs of building a new railroad spur to serve the complex and lowering a section of S. Kinnickinnic Ave. to allow trucks to access the site from the south.

“Transportation is vital to manufacturers like Komatsu, and to Wisconsin’s other important industry sectors,” said Governor Tony Evers in a statement announcing the grants. “When we improve Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure, we help our state’s businesses be more competitive. That improves the economy and makes life better for all of us.”

Urban Milwaukee examined the proposed railroad spur, estimated to cost $2.4 million, in February. The spur will connect to the Union Pacific line that bisects the site and allow the company to store up to eight rail cars on site.

The $1.46 million road project will lower S. Kinnickinnic Ave. as it goes under a Canadian Pacific railroad bridge near E. Stewart St. at the north end of Bay View.

That project, which will give trucks access to the south end of the site from Interstate 94’s Becher Street off-ramp, is expected to take place in summer 2022. Road closures are expected, with traffic diverted to S. 1st. St.

When the Komatsu development was announced in 2018, We Energies was to pay for road lowering projects under bridges crossing S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and E. Greenfield Ave. as part of preparing the site. But only the latter project has taken place to date.

WisDOT, through its Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) program, would provide $1 million for the rail project and $731,000 for the road project.

The grants build on $59.5 million the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has already awarded the company. The City of Milwaukee is also using a tax incremental financing district to award the company up to $25 million for job creation and an additional $15 million for a new riverwalk segment bordering the site.

The state press release refers to it as a $300 million project. Previous reports from city reports pegged the project at $285 million.

The Komatsu office building is expected to be completed this fall. Construction of the manufacturing facility is expected to be completed in Spring 2022.

February Site Photos

Railroad Alignment Plan

Road Lowering

South Harbor Campus Renderings

3 thoughts on “Transportation: State To Fund Road, Rails for Komatsu”

  1. steenwyr says:

    Too bad this Komatsu spur is in the way of the connection that would’ve been needed for KRM commuter rail

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @Steenwyr – The necessary connection for KRM is in the diagram submitted to the site. The key piece is to link the Union Pacific line with the Canadian Pacific line (they currently come within a few feet of each other, but don’t connect in Walker’s Point). A dashed, purple line in the upper right-hand corner of the document shows the connection as a planned future track segment.

  3. 45 years in the City says:

    Just a point of history. The Union Pacific tracks were previously owned by the Chicago & Northwestern. The Canadian Pacific tracks were previously those of the ultimately bankrupt Milwaukee Road. Each of those companies had separate stations until circa 1965 when they consolidated Milwaukee passenger operations at the current Intermodal Station. The connection was used to get the C&NW trains from their Lake Shore line (via Racine and Kenosha) to and from the new “Union Station”.

    All intercity passenger service ended on the C&NW upon the startup of Amtrak in 1971. The connection was eventually removed due to disuse and the expense of maintaining it. As mentioned above, this would have to be rebuilt if KRM was implemented.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us