MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A stretch of Interstate-94 near Rawson Ave. that was shut down this weekend reopened earlier than expected on Sunday morning, May 19th.
Construction crews shut down the interstate starting around 9 p.m. on Friday so they could install massive culvert pipes under the freeway surface. All lanes were supposed to open by 9 a.m. Sunday. But the work was complete about seven hours early.
The construction work caused massive traffic jams and headaches for drivers passing through the busy stretch on highway — especially on Saturday. That’s in part because thousands of people were streaming to Miller Park to see country superstar Kenny Chesney in concert.
“It was just a standstill, and it got — it just keeps getting worse,” one driver told FOX6 News.
“No car was moving. Not one single car was honestly moving,” another driver told FOX6 News.
“This won’t be the only full freeway closure for a longer period of time. We do have a lot of work coming up in the area,” Emlynn Grisar with the Wisconsin DOT said.
The next anticipated massive closure will come when crews install the new bridge decks at Rawson Ave.
“We’re building the new bridge off to the side of the freeway. We’re going to be rolling that in in about the middle of June or so,” Grisar said.
The exact length of the closure hasn’t yet been determined, but if it happens over another weekend, the traffic nightmare could return.
“We really work to minimize delays as much as possible to the traveling public but there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this corridor. Not only here but within the Zoo Interchange, the Hoan Bridge. All of our infrastructure is kind of coming to the end of its useful life around the same time,” Grisar said.
A full freeway closure on any Saturday in June could cause even bigger backups than was seen this weekend, as there are a lot of summer events going on in the Milwaukee area in June.