MILWAUKEE -- The long awaited Zoo Interchange project gets under way at 12:01 am Thursday with preparations for the demolition of the Greenfield Avenue bridge.
Construction crews will start prepping the bridge that runs over I-894 and US-45 here on Greenfield Avenue. The businesses surrounding the area are getting ready for the orange barrels
"If you want to get here, we're open, we're waiting for you,” Half Nuts owner Mary Ziegler said.
Ziegler owns Half Nuts on Greenfield Avenue just East of the bridge. She's been through construction before.
"It slowed us down noticeably."
But she's hopeful the bridge demolition won't hit her too bad since there's been some warning.
"We've talked with the DOT,” Ziegler said. “They're making signage for the neighboring businesses or all the local businesses which is supposed to tell people how to get here and that we are open."
Ziegler's also helping customers plan their trip.
"We've been talking to customers and trying to give them alternate routes."
Across Greenfield Avenue Fleuchaus Chiropractic Clinic Owner Chuck Fleuchaus runs a chiropractic clinic. He's been telling existing patients about the construction for more than a month.
"That's going to impact us with newer clients coming from the West. But my existing patients already know where I am so I don't think that'll be a big factor for us."
The DOT hopes businesses won't be affected too much. But traffic heading east and west will be re-routed.
"We're closing Greenfield Avenue at 101st and at 98th Street,” WI DOT Construction Project Manager Jay Obenberger said. “Then Friday and Saturday night we'll demo the bridge and begin construction on the new one."
Crews put up barrels and signs Wednesday in preparation. The DOT wants drivers to plan ahead.
"Plan a little extra time. There will be a little extra traffic," Obenberger said.
Traffic the local businesses hope doesn't avoid their shops.
"Can't change the fact that the road is closing," Zielger said.
"It's infrastructure that needs to be replaced,” Fleuchaus said. “What are you going to do? You just roll with it."
The DOT thinks the bridge will be done by the start of the State Fair.
Here’s a link to all the information you need about the Zoo Interchange project. zoointerchange.wi.gov