Today the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said they were rejecting their totally unpopular proposal to expand I-94 from 16th Street to 70th Street by creating a double decker freeway:

The proposed expansion of the I-94 east-west freeway between 16th and 70th streets in Milwaukee will be accomplished in the traditional way by adding a lane of traffic in each direction, state transportation officials said Tuesday.

Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said the state has rejected a costly double-deck option for 2,000 feet of the corridor through the cemetery area immediately west of the Stadium Interchange.

The revised cost of the eight-lane expansion is estimated at $850 million — less than the $1.5 billion estimate for the most expensive option, Gottlieb said.

For the short stretch west of the Stadium Interchange, the department has proposed converting the outside shoulder to a fourth lane in each direction.

So we are still getting a fourth lane in each direction but losing an emergency shoulder lane instead. How completely unimaginative.

Has anybody from DOT actually ever visited other urban freeways? Didn’t anyone ever consider reversible express lanes? Sounds like a perfect solution for traffic flows that are pretty ‘time of day’ sensitive.

Those goofy movable center strips work just fine to move traffic one way or the other depending on time of day needs for the Hoan Bridge reconstruction. I wouldn’t advocate that method for this expansion but typical reversible express lanes would just be the thing!

And did they really decide it was the wrong thing to do or did the thought of additional borrowing to pay for highway construction dissuade them? I am not sure that even the Republican legislature has the stomach for more highway borrowing.

P.S. My original thoughts on the rebuild!

2 Responses to State Rejects Double Deck I-94 Plan But:

  1. John Casper says:

    If Gov. Walker’s interested in construction that generates revenue, he could explore options. I’m not sure how practical either idea is, but

    (1) what’s the ROI on putting concentrated solar panels over the parts of I-94? Concentrated solar panels generate a lot more electricity, because they magnify the available sunlight in a given space. They’re also more expensive. They’d have to track the sun across the sky, but that’s not a problem. Would covering the road make it safer, especially during times of rain and snow?

    (2) Rush-hour traffic I-94 traffic generates huge amounts of wind. Can you harness that and turn it into electricity.

    Are these are the kinds of things you could look at with Federal money?

  2. John Casper says:

    Bullseye: “Didn’t anyone ever consider reversible express lanes?”

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