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Traffic around Mitchell International Airport causing headaches

Traffic around Mitchell International Airport causing headaches

By Jesse Ritka. CREATED Feb 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012

Click on the Additional Links to see detours/road maps/traffic/I-94 progress and the status of traffic around Mitchell International Airport.  At the bottom of the article are alternate routes to Mitchell International Airport.

MILWAUKEE - Traffic patterns at Mitchell International will not be normal for the rest of the year and you could get turned around if you're not paying attention.

All westbound lanes of the Airport Spur are now closed, creating a lot more detours.
"It's getting hairy, I mean it's everywhere," Michelle Caudill tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka as she drove to the airport this afternoon.  Caudill knows Wisconsin has two seasons: winter and construction, so she's no stranger to seeing all the orange, but this year the seasons are overlapping.

The detours add an additional 15 minutes to and from the airport for her. "Our infrastructure needs some repairs, we all get that, but it's still frustrating," Caudill admits.

Orange surrounds Mitchell International as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation continues their $20 million I-94 reconstruction project.  I-94 North-South Freeway Project Manager, Kurt Flierl, says they are trying to finish the construction in one sweep, "We want to get everything done north of College Ave by the end of this year, so the inconveniences now: we get in, we get our work done and we get out and we don't come back."

But the latest closure for westbound lanes of the Airport Spur is redirecting travelers even more than when the project began last October.  Drivers now must exit using Howell Avenue then use Howard Avenue, Layton Avenue and College Avenue to reconnect with I-94 and I-43.  And drivers are already confused, causing more last minute turns and last second braking on the detoured roads.

Flierl says paying attention is essential, "You're going to have to follow the signs, look up and just take note of the signs that are out there.  So slow down, take notice and definitely watch out for our workers out there."

Caudill says she'll follow that advice and offers some of her own to make her drive safer, "Put your coffee down, hang up your phone, 10 and 2, 10 and 2.  People are confused out there and I do a lot of driving every week, you just gotta pay attention."

Michelle chooses to remain optimistic about the construction, "At least it's sunny out, we don't have freezing rain and 2 feet of snow to walk through so look for the positive, because that would make it horrible."

And our lack of snow may actually help the freeway project complete ahead of schedule in December.

Flierl says the project could have been delayed almost a month if it weren't for the mild weather, "We're gaining schedule traction right now, contractors are out here right now, we're not fighting through snow and blizzards, so definitely that should help the schedule and help us get done earlier."

But for now, you will just have to pack extra time and patience into your drive.

Drivers had these alternate route options:

To travel to Downtown Milwaukee:
- Take Howell Avenue northbound to Layton Avenue, turn right
- Take Layton Avenue eastbound to I-794, turn left onto the northbound ramp
- Take I-794 northbound to Downtown Milwaukee

To travel northbound on I-43/94
- Take Howell Avenue northbound to Howard Avenue, turn left
- Take Howard Avenue westbound to I-43/94, turn right onto the northbound ramp
- Take I-43/94 northbound

To travel southbound on I-94
- Take Howell Avenue southbound to College Avenue, turn right
- Take College Avenue westbound to I-94, turn left onto the southbound ramp
- Take I-94 southbound

To travel westbound on I-43/894
- Take Howell Avenue northbound to Layton Avenue, turn left
- Take Layton Avenue westbound to 27th Street, turn right
- Take 27th Street northbound to I-43/894, turn left onto the westbound ramp
- Take I-43/894 westbound.

Jesse Ritka

Jesse Ritka

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Jesse Ritka joined TODAY’S TMJ4 and Storm Team 4 in February 2011 as the “Live at Daybreak” weekend meteorologist. Growing up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Jesse has always been fascinated by storms.