Jeramey Jannene

State Wants Feedback On Plans For I-794

Should elevated freeway between 6th St. and Hoan Bridge become a boulevard? Two public meetings to seek citizen comments.

By - Jul 18th, 2023 07:50 pm
Interstate 794 Rebuild As-Is option. Image from Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Interstate 794 Rebuild As-Is option. Image from Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) wants your feedback on its eight options for rebuilding the segment of Interstate 794 that connects the Marquette Interchange and Hoan Bridge.

On the first two days of August, two public meetings will allow individuals to ask questions and react to the conceptual options WisDOT is proposing.

The eight different options would drastically change the footprint of the aging freeway, built in the 1970s, and open up additional land for development or new public uses. Two of the options call for removing the freeway and replacing it with a boulevard.

Aside from the debate about whether or not to remove the freeway, the suitability of the different proposals is likely to be the source of significant debate as it calls for realigning or eliminating ramps and creating new city streets.

The meetings will be used to refine the proposed designs and advance a preferred alternative. A preferred option, according to a WisDOT timeline, is to be selected and publicly reviewed at the start of 2024. Construction would occur between 2026 and 2029.

The project, expected to cost over $300 million, is formally to rebuild the elevated freeway between N. Water Street and the Hoan Bridge, but last year the Rethink 794 coalition called for the state agency to formally study replacing Interstate 794 between N. 6th Street and the Hoan Bridge with a boulevard.

The coalition’s conceptual proposal would maintain freeway access, including the Hoan Bridge, to Downtown, but free up 32 acres of land for development and reconnect the East Town and Historic Third Ward neighborhoods.

WisDOT prepared two options for replacing the freeway segment with a boulevard, both of which would require a movable bridge over the Milwaukee River and neither yield as much newly-available land.

In all eight of the options, E. Clybourn Avenue would be converted to a two-way street and E. St. Paul Avenue extended east to N. Lincoln Memorial Drive from N. Van Buren Street. Seven of the options call for E. Buffalo Street to be extended east from N. Van Buren Street to N. Lincoln Memorial Drive.

Additional details on the reconfiguration options are available in our June article when the concepts were released. More information is available on the WisDOT project website.

Meeting Details

Each of the meetings will be conducted in an open-house style, allowing individuals to come and go at any point during the window. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

August 2 – 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
St. Thomas More High School – 2601 E. Morgan Ave.

Freeway Options

Removal Options

As-Is Rebuild

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Categories: Transportation

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