The state is looking for opportunities to speed up the Zoo Interchange’s repair work after deciding Friday to close the northbound U.S. Highway 45 bridge.
The state signed a $15.3 million contract with joint venture Milwaukee Constructors LLC to build new bridges on the interchange to replace three crumbling spans. One of those three, the northbound bridge of Highway 45 will permanently close to traffic, said Ryan Luck, Wisconsin Department of Transportation southeast freeways construction manager.
The structure is deteriorating and too many heavy trucks are driving on it, despite a posted 30-ton weight limit, he said.
Luck said Milwaukee Constructors is on course to meet the original May 24 date to complete construction of the three new bridges. But WisDOT will work with the builders to look for ways to finish the new northbound 45 bridge so it can be opened to traffic, he said.
“We are going to see how we can accelerate this and complete the bridge,” he said. “We were on course to pour that deck on Tuesday.”
Closing the Highway 45 bridge could give contractors more flexibility on the project, Luck said. The contract for the repair project limited complete closures to only three weekends during the entire project. With the northbound bridge shut down, contractors do work during the week that they otherwise could only do on weekends, Luck said.
He said he does not know if closing the bridge will have any effect on the contract’s price.
“That’s not quite on our mind right now,” Luck said.