Road work season starts early, leaving many drivers to deal with traffic mess
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - Why is there so much road construction happening at once around Milwaukee?
It's a perfect storm of safety upgrades, short and long-term planning. Even the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says it's not typical, but it's also not going to stop anytime soon.
Bumper-to-bumper has become the norm on some of Southeast Wisconsin's biggest roadways.
"It's just sucks," said driver Chuck Willer.
So what is going on?
"It's a very good question and what's going on is we're getting a really early start to our construction season here in Wisconsin," said Mike Pyritz with WisDOT.
The DOT is working on several major highway projects. The latest is adding another lane on 94-West between the Marquette and stadium interchanges. Day one of construction lead to some big delays, but the idea is to save more time later.
"Opening day is right around the corner and we want to have those lanes back and opened up before opening day," said Pyritz.
Then there's 94/43 North where they're trying to get bridge work done by Labor Day so they can start work on the Hoan, which needs redecking and structural reinforcement. It’s work that needs to be done before the Zoo interchange turns into, well, a zoo.
"If we are behind on the 94/43 work or we don't have the Hoan bridge done, the impacts are going to be much more dramatic and much more difficult,” Pyritz said.
You can add the Greenfield Avenue bridge closure to that project, which is affecting everyone in the area from drivers to bus riders, like Chris Petrucci.
"The times are off because of the delays and going around the bridge," Petrucci said.
Next it will be work on Mayfair Road and Watertown Plank, just to name a few. Even the DOT admits it's not your average trip around town.
"Very rarely do you really jump into the road construction work like we're doing this year," Pyritz added.
The DOT wants to remind everyone about 511 -- it gives you the latest traffic and condition updates on your commute.