Michels Corp. won a $160.6 million contract on Monday for the reconstruction of the so-called north leg of Milwaukee’s Zoo Interchange.
The company’s offer had been under review by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation ever since bidding closed on the project in October. The north leg is the final piece of a $1.5 billion reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange, which has been ongoing since 2013.
With its $160.6 million offer, Michels beat out two others: a $161.1 million bid from the Walsh Group, of Chicago; and a $163.1 million bid from Kraemer North America, of Plain. Project plans call for rebuilding U.S. Highway 45/Interstate 41 between Swan Boulevard and North Burleigh Street. Among other things, the work will have lanes added to both the northbound and southbound sides of the interstate. Plans also call for rebuilding and lengthening three bridges so that they can cross over additional lanes at North Avenue and Mayfair Road.
Michels Corp. was also part of a joint venture that built the first phase of the Zoo Interchange. Its partners were Lunda Construction Co., of Black River Falls; and Edgerton Contractors Inc., of Oak Creek.
The north leg is the final so-called mega project to be under construction in southeast Wisconsin after WisDOT wrapped up work on Interstate 94 North-South between Milwaukee and the Illinois border earlier this year.
Transportation officials initially expected to see the reconstruction of the north leg completed in 2018. But state lawmakers didn’t include any money for the project in the state’s 2017-2019 biennial budget, putting the work in limbo. On the campaign trail in 2018, former Gov. Scott Walker called a press conference to celebrate the completion of work on the core sections of the Zoo Interchange, giving rise to questions about the state’s plans for the north leg.