August 23, 2023
By Lane Kimble
Calling it a “solution in search of a problem,” State Sen. Duey Stroebel urged WisDOT to take a measured approach as it considers what to do with I-794 in Milwaukee.
The Department is gathering input and looking into nine possibilities for the freeway’s future, ranging from repairs and reconfiguration to an outright demolition.
“The adverse impacts associated with demolishing the interchange and replacing it with a ground-level thoroughfare would be profound,” Stroebel wrote in a press release this week.
“It would be a shame if DOT allowed the groups who are aggressively banging the drum for full removal of the existing interchange to hold undue influence over the department’s decision making.”
I-794 connects traffic to and through downtown Milwaukee, eventually linking with the Hoan Bridge. The freeway – with its 28 bridges – was built in the mid-1970s and is reaching the end of its useful life.
Leaders in Milwaukee and some citizen groups have pushed to demolish the freeway, which could open up dozens of acres of high valued real estate ripe for commercial and residential development. Those opposed to that option worry about traffic jams, travel delays, and fewer people wanting to work downtown.
WisDOT held public involvement and information sessions in Milwaukee earlier this month.
The Department is seeking public comments and feedback through Sept. 1. You can share your thoughts via this link (comments may be submitted anonymously.)
WisDOT intends to develop and release its preferred alternative in 2024 with construction possibly beginning in 2026.