Jeramey Jannene

See The Design Concepts To Replace Stadium Freeway

More than 10 alternatives released for the northside freeway spur.

By - May 1st, 2024 05:25 pm
Shift east redesign concept for Wisconsin Highway 175. Image from Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Shift east redesign concept for Wisconsin Highway 175. Image from Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The public was given its first chance Tuesday night to see potential freeway-to-boulevard replacement concepts for the Stadium Freeway.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) unveiled 10 concepts and even more pairing options to potentially replace the aging 1.8-mile freeway between W. Wisconsin Avenue and its northern terminus at W. Lisbon Avenue.

Included among the options are concepts to build a boulevard on the eastern or western side of the current alignment, creating space for new development or public amenities, as well as design concepts to place the freeway into a tunnel, terminate it further south at W. Lloyd or W. State streets, or replace it with two one-way streets.

Many of the options would require refilling portions of the trench that was dug to construct the highway in 1962. They would almost all yield more than two dozen acres of land for future uses.

The concepts are split between north and south versions, with W. Vliet Street, the south end of Washington Park, used as a dividing line. Cross streets, such as W. Wisconsin Avenue., are subject to additional design alternatives such as roundabouts.

“We have not developed cost estimates for the alternatives yet. We want to take the input we received from this meeting, evaluate, refine that down to two or three alternatives and then do a more detailed analysis,” said project manager Doug Cain in an interview.

Tuesday’s event at the Washington Park Senior Center drew a large crowd, with people discussing different design options and potential repercussions.

WisDOT is leading the road’s design, but it won’t control what happens with the excess land created. “A number of the alternatives have excess land or excess right of way that could be used for the benefit of the public in the future. The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are going to be the lead agency on those reconnection and economic development opportunities,” said Cain. WisDOT is paying for the study, announced in 2022 and expected to cost up to $3 million.

Tuesday’s meeting was the second public meeting on the project. A third meeting is planned for the winter. “The first meeting we had was really just a data-gathering meeting. We wanted to hear what the public had to say, what their priorities were for the community and their needs. And today, we’ve actually taken that feedback that we received at the first meeting, and other feedback from stakeholders and businesses and residents along the corridor to develop these alternatives for further comment,” said Cain.

North of Wisconsin Avenue, the spur sees 71,000 vehicles per day according to 2022 WisDOT data. The traffic volume falls to 57,300 vehicles per day north of W. Vliet St. The parallel Interstate 41 and Interstate 43 corridors each see in excess of 150,000 vehicles per day. The existing Stadium Freeway has a speed limit of 50 miles per hour.

WisDOT said it is doing a more detailed evaluation to examine how motorists use the corridor. According to WisDOT materials, 14% of nearby households do not have an automobile.

The six-lane roadway separates the Washington Heights neighborhood on the west from the Washington Park neighborhood to the east. It terminates just south of W. North Ave. in the Uptown neighborhood. The spur runs north from the Stadium Interchange, which would be reconfigured into a diverging-diamond interchange as part of the $1.8 billion project to expand Interstate 94. The Stadium Freeway was planned as part of a largely-unbuilt network of freeway loops that would encircle Milwaukee.

In 2022, both Mayor Cavalier Johnson and County Executive David Crowley endorsed major changes to the roadway. “Now is the time to correct the flawed infrastructure of our predecessors,” said Johnson at a press conference. “The time for change is always now,” said Crowley.

WisDOT is soliciting feedback on the design concepts via an online survey. Additional information on the project is available on the Reimagining WIS 175 Study website.

South Design Alternatives

North Design Alternatives

South Cross Streets

North Cross Streets

Project Video

Graham Kilmer contributed to this article

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Categories: Transportation

One thought on “See The Design Concepts To Replace Stadium Freeway”

  1. Thomas Sepllman says:

    A quick response THE BASTARDS First the zoo land was taken It was a small zoo and now MORE land is take from the Park Hummm Highway engineers seem not to have much of a memory Not clear what is to happen to the hole and how long it will take to fill the hole

    Whatever happens happens in the existing right of way and to the west so any “extra” land is added to the park. Also the plan should give the houses that face the parkway a nicer view and Ah where dose the fill to fill the hole come from Just a quick comment to get us started

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