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“Not a good investment:” Some not pleased with WisDOT’s “preferred alternative” for I-94 East/West Corridor

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Ditching plans for a double-decker, on Tuesday, February 17th, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb unveiled the preferred alternative for the I-94 East-West Corridor reconstruction. This, as some wonder whether the reconstruction is something that should even be done, while others say it's something that's desperately needed.

They made a promise not to disturb those who are no longer living -- but the big question was how.

Following three years of study, five public involvement meetings, two public hearings and countless other meetings, Gottlieb has revealed the recommendation for reconstructing the I-94 East/West Corridor between 16th Street and 70th Street.

On Tuesday, officials indicated they prefer an option which offers four lanes in each direction. They say no graves at Wood National Cemetery would be disrupted -- and the speed limit would remain unchanged. This "at-grade" option would cost $180 million less than the double-decker option.

The estimated $850 million preferred alternative also means the quarter-mile stretch between Mitchell Boulevard and Hawley Road would feature lanes measuring 11 feet in width, rather than the typical 12 feet.

Sherrie Tussler is the director of the Hunger Task Force on S. Hawley Court. The proposed I-94 reconstruction plan would take away an on-ramp and off-ramp to Hawley Road.

"Somehow our state thinks it is appropriate like a billion dollars to reduce that commute time to three minutes. If we can't get on and off (I-94) we can't deliver food, and the Hunger Task Force is in the business of delivering food," Tussler said.

The project could take part of the Hunger Task Force's property as well. Tussler says the Hunger Task Force's preferred option is that the reconstruction doesn't happen at all.

"I don't think anyone has had to wait an extraordinary period of time to use that freeway. It doesn't make sense to me. It's not a good investment," Tussler said.

Pam Witt says she couldn't disagree more. Her family-owned trucking business "Bonded Transportation" sits on both sides of the highway along the Stadium Interchange.

"I think it is great.  I think we need to do something.  It's too congested and it's time. It's congested. It needs to be four lanes. It's too crowded -- especially with trucking," Witt said.

Witt says it would be even better if the state could pay her to relocate the business.

The project needs final approval from the state. Once construction begins, it would take three to four years to complete.

The Department of Transportation hopes to have a plan and funding in place so that construction can begin by 2019.

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  • Mr. Bob

    Hey Sherrie Tussler, get over it. It is not 1 billion dollars, it is 850 million. Negotiate with the state to buy out your property and find a new location. Or, be creative and get the word out that people coming to your location need to use a different exit. It isn’t that hard really. You did select a location right next to the freeway after all. You never thought that reconstruction could possibly have an impact on your operation???

  • Hooptie Pete

    without people using the freeway to go to work, earning a living, and paying taxes you guys wouldn’t have anything to give the leeches. How many times on the news have I seen people where Jordan tennis shoes picking up food from you. Also when traffic is backed up at a stand still it takes longer than 3 minutes whereas there two other ramps 3 minutes from your building.. Typical lying liberal

  • PH

    Glad they found someone, Sherrie Tussler, to throw her 2 cents in. Well actually, during peak times you are backed up quite a bit longer than 3 minutes. Guess what? Have people take a different exit to get to the Hunger Task Force, I still believe you will find a way to deliver food, so don’t worry girl.

  • JC

    She does bring up some good points about the project. Wait until the first snow and tell me that foot doesn’t make a difference.A lot of money and time and this is the best they could come up with I just have to shake my head.

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