Protesters call proposed I-94 construction "Billion Dollar Highway Boondoggle"

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by Priscilla Luong

WEST ALLIS-- Protesters call it a waste of money-- expanding the East-West I-94 Corridor between the Marquette and Zoo Interchange.

"This is an expensive, misguided, unnecessary, billion dollar highway boondoggle," said Bruce Speight, with WisPIRG.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Pettit National Ice Center Monday afternoon while a public meeting on the I-94 project was still in progress.

"It is a very vital corridor, very crucial that we get the right solution for the future," said Brian Bliesner, with WisDOT.

Several construction options are being considered-- one option includes building a double decker highway that woudl cost an estimated $1.2 Billion.

"What we're saying is-- let's repair the existing roads," said Speight, "but let's not waste nearly a billion dollars to widen a highway at a time when we're driving less."

Another option shuts down the Hawley exit in West Allis, near the Hunger Task Force.

"Anybody who's driven those ramps knows it's very hair-raising to get up to speed and get into traffic," said Bliesner.

WisDOT says due to safety concerns-- change is necessary on I-94.

"The original design is from the early 1960's and the facility is handling considerably more traffic," said Bliesner, "and with that traffic comes congestion, and with congestion, comes accidents."

Protesters say they want to see more money go toward repairing potholes and bridges in disrepair.

"We really need to hit the reset button on transportation policy here in Wisconsin," said Speight.

WisDOT says they're still in the exploratory phase of this construction project.  Right now, they're just getting public feedback.  Once officials acquire funding they hope to begin work by 2019.



 

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