Thursday, January 17, 2008

WisDOT playing fast and loose with the Zoo Interchange

WisDOT's contract for the environmental assessment for the Zoo Interchange makes it plain that added traffic capacity isn't to be considered. Until WisDOT says that the decision about added capacity will be made based on the study.

No kidding.

The contract says "No overall system capacity improvements will be included."

Pretty clear, right?

The most expansive design to be studied, according to the contract, is this:

Full Design and Safety Improvements - this alternative will include the improvements necessary to properly address all of the design and design-related safety deficiencies with limited exceptions such as vertical curvature or horizontal sight distances. For this alternative the design will provide all entrance and exit movements to the right hand side of the freeway, improve freeway to freeway ramp operations, minimize lane drops, provide route continuity, provide auxiliary lanes, ramp braids or collector-distributor lanes to address closely spaced interchanges, provide parallel entrance ramps, convert multi-point exits to single point exits, improve horizontal and vertical curvature, grades, and vertical clearance, provide full shoulders to minimize exceptions to standards while considering impacts and cost. This alternative will be developed in a manner to not preclude potential future capacity improvements as defined in the latest SEWRPC study. Off-system improvement concepts will be developed. No overall system capacity improvements will be included.

No mention of capacity expansion, except to say there will be none, but it shouldn't be precluded in the future.

Yet, when I asked WisDOT when a decision on expansion could be coming, this is the response I got:

Decisions will not be made regarding additional lanes on the Zoo Interchange until the environmental and engineering study is completed in 2009. It is a future decision because the preferred alternative/design hinges on the environmental study results.

WisDOT says is going to decide whether to expand the interchange based on an environmental assessment -- not even a full environmental impact statement -- that specifically does not include consideration of lane capacity.

If WisDOT is looking to build public confidence, it's failing badly. It is, again, a display of WisDOT's arrogance and belief it can push through the most poorly-planned (or completely unstudied) project.

A reminder that two public meetings on the reconstruction are coming up. The first is tonight; the second is Jan. 23.

The details:

* January 17, 2008
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Zoofari Conference Center
9715 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee
* January 23, 2008
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
State Fair Park - Tommy
Thompson Youth Center
Gate #5, 640 S 84th Street, West Allis

1 comment:

Jack Lohman said...

Before they spend money on the Zoo interchange they should complete the Appleton and Fond du Lac freeways into town. Those will divert much traffic away from the Zoo and will alter the needs of the interchange.