$95 million to put a bike path on the Hoan Bridge? You gotta be kidding me! [UPDATED]

UPDATE: I stand corrected. As noted by multiple commenters, one of the bike/pedestrian path plans proposed by the Department of Transportation was estimated to cost $95 million.

According to Cudahy far-right conservative blogger Randy Hollenbeck, putting a bike path on the Hoan Bridge would “waste $95,000,000.” Putting aside the fact that a bike path on the Hoan Bridge would be a heck of a step in the right direction towards providing an even safer connection between the bike trails that stretch over 111 miles in Milwaukee County, from the North half of Milwaukee County to the South half of Milwaukee County, Randy Hollenbeck’s math just doesn’t add up.

According to a study completed by URS/Bloom Consultants in 2002, retrofitting a bike path on the Hoan Bridge would cost an estimated $3.5 million, which is certainly a far cry from the $95 million figure cited by Hollenbeck.

What’s more, it seems only logical that a dedicated bike/pedestrian path could be easily (and relatively inexpensively) integrated into the future re-decking of the Hoan Bridge, a project that’s sorely needed given the deteriorating condition of the Hoan Bridge. At any rate, it seems wholly unrealistic that adding a bike/pedestrian path to the Hoan Bridge would cost $95 million.


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17 thoughts on “$95 million to put a bike path on the Hoan Bridge? You gotta be kidding me! [UPDATED]

  1. Well the $95 million number is from WisDOT. It was the most expensive option they ‘proposed’. Oddly, despite the 2002 report, the cheapest option WisDOT proposed this time? $9.4 million…. Not sure how it went from $3.5 million in 2002 to $9.4 million in 2011… but that option was rejected as well.

  2. The sort of estimated cost spike from $3.5 M to $9.5 M in cost inflation over a decade for highway projects isn’t too unheard of. As someone who supports turning Hwy 23 from Plymouth to Fond du Lac four lanes, I’ve seen each of these delays add tens of millions to the estimated cost of the project. That project at one-time was estimated to cost $50 M total. Now it’s almost two and a half times that amount.

    Pretty sure the latest delay caused by the “1,000 Friends” lawsuit is going to end up adding $20 M to $40 M to the project. Why? Because paving a road isn’t cheap, mostly because the chief ingredient to making a road is oil-based asphalt. With worldwide oil prices rising, so does asphalt. Then there’s the other costs such as labor, land, and equipment. Those things aren’t set in stone either.

    Why you think a 10 year-old estimate was still valid is frankly, foolish.

    1. @Kevin, Certainly inflation would cause the price tag to rise. But from $3.5 to $9.4 million? No, that clearly wasn’t the only cause in the increased price. The increased price also came with new bigger ‘better’ overbuilt designs, instead of the minimal design of the original project. But well that was to be expected as it is easier to deny the project with a bigger price tag.

  3. This is for those that haven’t kept up with the local news and for many of those same ones that just disagree with others just to disagree with others.

    The price tag is just the facts.

    “Building a separate bike path above the current roadway would have cost $94.6 million, according to an analysis of alternatives prepared by the consulting firm Graef USA”


  4. Wow look at all of these “conservatives” loving to spend millions upon millions of taxpayers money on roads that do not pay for themselves…..who knew?

      1. It speaks to my theory that the word “conservative” is VASTLY overused, especially when talking about the right wing of WI.

        Of course as Adam Foltz would say…its not political…

  5. Zach,

    It wasn’t my math as when I do math I show my work. I am sure you know that. So how about correcting your post to reflect the facts and truth. I am sorry you were not in the know on the price tags and the bike being cancelled. I am sorry I was the one to let you know. It isn’t as if it wasn’t all over the news.

    And it takes one wing nut to know another!

  6. Steve,

    That is the option that had the most support until the price tag came in. I am sorry it was going to be expensive. Taking away a lane was not going to pass. When I talked with Jursik and Larson, the push was for the most safest bike path, which would be the most expensive. I also did attend one of the public meetings on it and that was one talked up, people just didn’t know how much it would cost. Jursik told me she was shocked when the DOT announced the prices. They were expecting less than half the amount and then a push for a BID district would be made.

    If Zach wants to include all of the price tags, great, but I didn’t make it up like he states. It isn’t my math, and in the end I spoke the truth and he didn’t. The fact that other price tags in it doesn’t preclude the truth. The separate bike path was the most pushed option! You can make excuses for Zach as I am sure any friend would. Again, I am sorry he wasn’t in the know and had to come to my blog to find out the truth. But instead he rushed to his keyboard and wrote up a post to attack me, all the while being ignorant, thinking he was giving me a smack down. Maybe Zach was out of town that day, week or had other things going on. I can give him the benefit of the doubt which is more than he ever would.

    Steve, contact Jursik and Larson if you are in doubt of the prices and options and the preferences.

      1. @Randy No the most expensive option was not the most supported option. It was the option ‘supported’ (easy to support something you know will fail) by Jursik but definitely not the preferred option of most bike advocates. Far and away the bike crowd was looking for the $9.4 million option, as it was the most logical, affordable, and similar to plans that had been floating around for a decade (The Bike Fed did articles on this plan, UrbanMilwaukee did as well, Bill Sell, Bike the Hoan, wrote much on this plan). Further, most of the discussion (after / during the meeting) revolved around the traffic ‘projections’ (Alderman Kovac is quoted on this) and how speeds would drop to essentially the speed limit so how in the world was that a problem.

        The $95 million was an easy target, but not the actual preferred option.

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