Milwaukee County officials have recommended the upcoming Interstate 94 highway project stay at six lanes over the eight-lane alternative the Department of Transportation announced in November.
The Committee on Transportation and Transit voted 3-1 on Tuesday to recommend adopting the “Fix at Six” plan for I-94 between 70th Street and 16th Street. WisDOT announced plans on Nov. 11 to expand the freeway from six to eight lanes in its $1.2 billion reconstruction project.
Keeping the freeway at six lanes would preserve quality of life for neighborhoods around the project, County Supervisor Peter Burgelis said in a statement. Burgelis’ district represents most of the construction area and he authored the resolution after hearing from residents opposed to the eight-lane design.
“The rebuilding of I-94 is overdue, necessary and will spur thousands of local, family-supporting union jobs, but the six-lane option will best preserve quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods,” Burgelis said in a statement. “The six-lane design combined with permanent transit investments will best serve the transportation needs of all of Milwaukee County.”
The three supervisors who voted in favor of the six-lane option were Committee Chairwoman Priscilla Coggs-Jones and Supervisors Steven Shea and Burgelis. Supervisor Patti Logsdon voted against the option and Supervisor Dyango Zerpa was excused from the meeting.
The full board will consider the item on Dec. 15.
U.S. Census Bureau data shows a declining population in Milwaukee County, the resolution said. Supervisors also cited a WisDOT report the said the amount of average daily traffic on the freeway between 70th and 16th streets was stagnant between 2019 and 2021.
Crews will reconstruct the 60-year-old freeway and replace the Stadium Interchange near American Family Field with a diverging diamond design and add an extra lane going east and west, WisDOT plans showed. The “Fix at Six” plan includes the diverging diamond but keeps six lanes, the resolution said.
Transportation officials will submit the final project to the Federal Transportation Administration after a 60-day public comment period ends on Jan. 17.
The transportation agency will host two public hearings in December.
WisDOT had plans to overhaul the stretch of I-94 in 2017 but dropped the project. Gov. Tony Evers’ administration revived the project in 2020. Construction is expected to begin in 2025.