Drivers will need alternate route as reconstruction on Zoo Interchange begins

NOW: Drivers will need alternate route as reconstruction on Zoo Interchange begins

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS58) -- It's a major reconstruction project and it could impact your drive. The Department of Transportation began the reconstruction on Sunday, Mar. 7, on the North Leg of the Zoo interchange. Monday morning, March 8, was a little bit different for drivers. 

“We’re going to do some preparatory work and then on the 17th, we’re actually going to remove the entire bridge structure. There will be a full freeway closure the night of the 17th to allow us to get that work down," Michael Pyritz said. He is the Regional Communications Manager with the Department of Transportation.

This project is the first step in completing the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange project.

“This begins the work on the North leg of the Zoo Interchange, that’s the portion from Swan Boulevard up to Burleigh, the work is going to take place over three construction seasons.”

"When it’s done, it will be additional capacity both northbound and southbound connecting with the existing lane at Watertown Plank and adding a lane of traffic all the way up to Burleigh," Pyritz said. 

Pyritz says drivers will have to take an alternate route

“In the short term, the impacts are going to be mainly on some of the ramps here on North Avenue.”

Eva Kolberg lives near the Meinecke Bridge. She says luckily DOT will put up a sound wall. However, she’s not looking forward to driving around the construction.

“It will be a little bit going around, having to go up to Center street.” 

The area may get congested because of the already normal heavy traffic.

“Because we have the three schools on Center street, we have a lot of traffic, in the morning and when they pick the kids up”

DOT says it expects all work to be done by Fall 2023.

Here's a breakdown of lane closures:

Monday morning, March 8:

- long-term closure of Meinecke Ave bridge over I-41. Demo scheduled for overnight Wednesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 18. Bridge remains closed through late November 2021

Wednesday evening, March 10:

- long-term (through 2023) closure of I-41 SB exit to westbound North Avenue

- long-term (through 2023) closure of I-41 SB exit to eastbound North Avenue

- long-term (through 2023) closure of North Avenue entrance to I-41 SB

Saturday evening, March 13:

- long-term closure (through 2023) of I-41 NB exit to westbound North Avenue

- long-term closure (through 2023) of North Avenue entrance ramp to I-41 NB

Detours will be posted with southbound traffic being routed onto WIS 100 at Burleigh Road. Northbound traffic will still have access to the exit to WIS 100 northbound during the 2021 construction season.

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