Major traffic pattern changes scheduled to begin Friday on I-41

NOW: Major traffic pattern changes scheduled to begin Friday on I-41

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Major changes on I-41 are scheduled to happen over the weekend.

Work on the Zoo Interchange Project continues with reconstruction of northbound lanes, which will require short and long-term lane shifts and closures.

"We're going to be doing a major traffic switch," Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Project Manager Sean Race said.

WisDOT is closing the existing northbound lanes and moving traffic to the existing southbound lanes. Southbound traffic will shift to a new set of lanes located just right of the existing ones.

"So, by us doing that, that opens up the whole existing northbound side, and then throughout the 2022 construction season, we'll be working on reconstructing the northbound lanes," Race said.

Drivers can also expect ramp closures.

The North Mayfair Road exit will be closed through the Fall.

The North Burleigh Street exit will be closed for about three weeks.

"I would get off on northbound exit to Watertown Plank Road, and take that over to Highway 100, and take a right, and that brings you right back to the spot you would be," Race said.

I-41 North will be reduced to two lanes between Swan Boulevard and North Avenue for about six weeks starting in May.

WisDOT will implement a zipper merge near Swan Boulevard. Drivers are encouraged to use all lanes until reaching the merge point, and taking turns. 

"Anytime a traffic pattern changes, there's sometimes possible driver confusion that may cause a few little extra delays for the first few days until they get used to it," Race said.

All of these changes signify the last steps of the Zoo Interchange Project.

"Northbound traffic and southbound is going to go from three to four lanes. We'll bring everything up to current standards. Ramps and everything will get widened out, shoulders will get widened out," Race said.

The lane switches are scheduled to begin Friday, April 22, depending on weather. 

The northbound lanes are expected to return to their proper side at the end of the construction season.

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