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Doyle directs WisDOT to work on Zoo Interchange

Gov. Doyle announced Friday that he had directed the Department of Transportation
to begin construction on the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee County by 2012, four
years earlier than the project was originally slated to begin.

“This project will create thousands of jobs and boost the economy of the
entire region,” Doyle said. "Jump-starting the project is a vital
step forward in our effort to grow Wisconsin’s economy and make sure there are
good paying jobs available for families.”

Plans for the Zoo Interchange project now are to conduct the environmental
and engineering analysis throughout 2007 and 2008, implement final design and
real estate acquisitions from 2009 though 2011, and begin construction by 2012.

The state Department of Transportation is working with local officials and
businesses to analyze traffic issues, development trends and increasing traffic
volumes near the Watertown Plank area.

Milwaukee will work with Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, WisDOT and local businesses
to complete a traffic impact analysis that will help plan for growth in the
area. Analysis of development area borders near the Milwaukee County Grounds
and a needs assessment and data collection are already under way.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi said in a
statement Friday that it’s time to upgrade the interchange in preparation
for the area’s future needs.

“This connection plays a key role in moving commuters, retail customers,
health care patients, all types of freight and many other types of traffic,”
he said. “We’ve done a good job of maintaining the interchange, but
now is the time to take the next steps to determine how the interchange can
best be rebuilt to serve the community and economy well into the future.”

Other projects on target

The advancement of the project is not expected to hinder either of southeastern
Wisconsin’s other major road projects — the Marquette Interchange is still
expected to be complete in 2008, and construction on the I-94 North-South Corridor
is still slated to begin in 2009.

“We’re planning this so that the projects work in concert with each
other,” said Doyle spokesman Matt Canter, who said there would be no anticipated
financial setbacks from the three major projects taking place so closely together.

“[The Zoo Interchange] is the busiest interchange in Wisconsin, and it
has a tremendous impact on traffic in the area. We wanted to look at it in terms
of impact on local roads, and in doing that, we were able to do a local road
impact study at $3 million and the greater impact study at $27 million. Once
the federal commitment comes through, the funding will be there.”

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