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Stadium Interchange proposal calls for 8 lanes, potential double

Posted July 31, 2013

The Stadium Interchange and a stretch of Interstate 94 would be rebuilt with eight lanes, with a possible double-decker segment near Miller Park, under a plan proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The Stadium Interchange reconstruction could cost anywhere from $810 million to $1 billion, depending on whether one segment is rebuilt at-grade or as a two-level double-decker freeway. The Wisconsin DOT this month is collecting input on the proposal for the interchange and I-94 between North 70th and North 25th streets. Construction would begin in 2019, at the earliest, said DOT project manager Jason Lynch. The proposal by the DOT is the result of more than a year of planning and public input. The only area of the highway that has two alternatives under consideration is immediately west of the Stadium Interchange, where the freeway is pinched between two cemeteries DOT officials have promised not to disturb. One option, costing $310 million, is for a two-level highway, with four lanes in each direction. East-bound drivers would be on the upper deck, and west-bound on the lower. It would stand about as tall as the highway sign standing over I-94 in the area that points east-bound drivers downtown, Lynch said. The second alternative under consideration is rebuilding the highway at-grade with eight lanes, which would cost $110 million. Under that proposal, the Hawley Road exit would be eliminated, and driving lanes would be 11 feet wide in that area, instead of the standard 12 feet, Lynch said. It also would have 1.5-foot-wide shoulders. Both options would not encroach on the cemeteries to the north and south of the interstate, Lynch said. However, the double-decker would require the DOT remove eight houses and two businesses. The at-grade option requires removal of one business and two houses. The remainder of the interstate would be rebuilt with eight lanes, with all exit ramps moved to the right-hand side of the highway. The eight lanes are a requirement under federal standards, due to the level of traffic predicted in 2040 along that segment of highway, Lynch said. The Federal Highway Administration, which will have the final say on whether to approve the reconstruction plan, is allowing the Stadium Interchange to be designed to a lower capacity level than the agency usually demands, Lynch said. After collecting public comments this month, the DOT plans to lock in a preferred design and, in October, have a more detailed draft plan complete for further public review. The goal is to gain final approval from the Federal Highway Administration by August 2014, Lynch said.