I commend the Department of Transportation (DOT) for rebuilding three bridges on the Zoo Interchange, but I am also urging the state to finally make the commitment necessary to redo the entire interchange as soon as possible.
After reviewing a forensic study conducted on the Zoo Interchange, DOT has decided to do an emergency rebuild of the following ramps:
1) Northbound I-894/US 45 through the interchange to north US 45
2) Southbound US 45 to the eastbound I-94 connector ramp
3) Northbound I-894/US 45 to the westbound I-94 ramp
All three bridges will cost a total of $12-22 million to rebuild. According to DOT, the construction will be paid for by the savings from the Marquette Interchange. When the entire Zoo Interchange is rebuilt and placed in a new footprint, DOT will tear down these bridges and rebuild them.
It’s still necessary to rebuild the entire Zoo Interchange to address design and traffic flow issues, but these ramps need to be redone immediately. We must maintain safety. We can’t allow bridges to collapse. This is an investment we have to make.
I appreciate DOT's response to the study, but it's time for the state to invest in a permanent solution. A band-aid approach was not enough… The Zoo requires major surgery. But even the ramp rebuild is a temporary fix. We still need a permanent solution in the form of rebuilding the entire interchange sooner rather than later. We need a commitment from DOT, Governor Doyle and neighboring communities, and we need it now.
According to DOT, there are about two crashes per day on the Zoo, with approximately 30 percent of crashes resulting in injuries. 350,000 cars travel through it each day. The Zoo Interchange opened in the 1960s, making it the oldest and most heavily traveled interchange in the state.