MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - State and local authorities are bracing for a traffic mess Monday in Milwaukee, where a major freeway bridge was suddenly closed on Friday. New cracks were found on the northbound Highway 45 bridge at the Milwaukee County Zoo Interchange. That was after construction began a few weeks ago to fix other cracks. The bridge is a key artery for visitors to Milwaukee, and it’s also a bypass for those driving through. And it will be closed until May.
Sunday, 2 members of the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee said new priorities need to be set for fixing the region’s busiest roads. Milwaukee Democrat Christine Sinicki suggested slowing down the re-construction of Interstate 94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois line, which is in its second year. Greenfield Republican Jeff Stone said there would be more highway failures if the state cannot determine how to pay for timely repairs. He said the problem could compound, and Sinicki said it’s possible that Milwaukee’s roads could, “end up like Detroit.”
Sinicki did say she’s grateful the 45 bridge did not collapse, similar to the Interstate 35-W debacle in Minneapolis in 2007. She was glad officials were watching the situation, and “had the intelligence to close it down.” Stone said the public is skeptical that new road taxes will actually translate to repairs, Governor Jim Doyle used $1.2 billion in gas tax money for other things the past few years. Some of it was paid back, but the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said there was still a net of $434 million in road funds.