WisDOT gets public input on proposals for I-94 reconstruction

NOW: WisDOT gets public input on proposals for I-94 reconstruction

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The I-94 reconstruction took another step forward as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials heard residents' feedback on the options they've developed.

The proposals include six and eight-lane options for the area between 17th and 70th streets, and make some changes to on and off ramps.

WisDOT officials said opinions range from 'tear it all down' to 'make it a 10-lane highway,' but they said getting the public's feedback is all part of the process.

"Eight-hundred million dollars projected only like 12 months ago, and now it's up to $1.2 billion?" asked Washington Heights resident and urban planner Robin Palm.

He said instead of expanding the highway and trying to better the situation at the 175 interchange, investing in more public transit options would be preferable.

"We could actually save money and do more if they just get rid of the huge interchange," said Palm.

Other people, like interested resident James Davies, feel differently.

"I support rebuilding it, but I oppose adding lanes," said Davies.

He said making more space for cars just means more people will be using the highway, and instead, access should be limited.

"I really think the congestion issue is -- and anyone who drives it knows, it's generated by these on and off ramps," said Davies.

In some ways, the opposite of how Shirley Krug, former 15th district Democratic state representative, feels.

She said her concern is the possibility of losing access for city residents, like the elimination of the Hawley Road exit in most of the proposals.

"We want to help our suburban neighbors get to places faster. I'm not opposed to that, per say, but as a byproduct of that, the city residents should not lose their access," said Krug.

A feeling reflected by others at the meeting, like Larry Susman, who was also concerned the reconstruction could end up moving the highway closer to a grave plot his family has had for a hundred years.

"It's a huge public investment, and primarily the people who are going to benefit from this are people from Waukesha County," said Susman.

WisDOT officials said they'll be taking opinions like these into consideration as they work to develop a preferred alternative.

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