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Bluemound Road over US45 is back open

 Shortly after 8 p.m. Monday, the Wisconsin DOT announced that the Bluemound Bridge was back open over US 45.

Back in October, this heavily traveled portion of roadway was closed as part of the Zoo Interchange project.

Bluemound was shut down eastbound and westbound 95th to 97th Streets.

The reopening is about a week ahead of schedule.

The news is especially good for the Milwaukee County Zoo, which sits just yards from the bridge. 

Attendance is actually up by 20,000 at this point compared to last year, but zoo staff can't wait for clearer access.

\"It just gives you different options and, of course, right ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, which is the high season,\" zoo public relations coordinator Jennifer Diliberti said.

Drivers will notice additional turn lanes and new crosswalk indicator lights along Bluemound. 

The southbound US-45 off ramp to Bluemound will reopen by year's end, but other freeway on and off ramps won't open along Bluemound Road for quite some time.

But good news for some becomes a new challenge for others. The Wisconsin Avenue bridge will close as soon as Bluemound reopens. That meant working out emergency and commuter routes for nearby Children's Hospital, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin campus.

\"We've really built an effective system through the DOT's participation, to communicate with those agencies directly,\" Children's Hospital Security Services manager Mike Thiel said. Thiel says he's had weekly meetings with the DOT to make sure the construction hasn't had too big of an impact.

Detours around Wisconsin avenue will take more people past Matthew Nichols' 95th Street home to the higher-capacity Bluemound bridge soon. The street will return to two-way traffic.

\"If you have to access 95th Street, do what you have to do,\" Nichols said with a smile. \"But if you find another way, that would be good too.\"

The Wisconsin Avenue bridge will stay closed through late 2016. 

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