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Posts tagged with “Zoo Interchange”

Doyle on Zoo SNAFU: “Don’t Blame Me”

When you’re a weasel of a politician, you go all out don’t you.

People of Wisconsin: I give you James E. Doyle, Governor of the State of the Wisconsin.

Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday that the decision to rebuild the Zoo Interchange after work on I-94 south from Milwaukee to the state line was made before he became governor in 2003.

He said he tried to move up the timetable for the Zoo Interchange project but had to put it back on its original schedule because of budget problems.

In his first public comments, he noted the project was still years away because of advance design work that needs to be done.

“I hope everybody understands that even if somebody two years ago said, ‘Do the Zoo Interchange, here’s 3 billion, let’s do it,’ it would take six (or) seven years of . . . engineering work to be done.”

Doyle made his comments after the emergency closure Friday of the Highway 45 bridge in the Zoo Interchange. The bridge is expected to be closed for two months for repairs, causing detours and delays for thousands of commuters.

Some Republicans and others have blamed the Doyle administration for the bridge falling into disrepair.

Doyle is right in the sense that engineering on the project would have taken time.  Engineering on the Zoo would have taken a few year, but it would have been either completed or possibly expedited if the type of damage now seen on the Zoo had been noticed in late 2005 or 2006 when WisDOT engineers first would have had a chance to look at the project.  This would have happened in the case of the Zoo; especially if we had a Governor who wanted to see the project done.

Sadly, it took a highway bridge collapsing in Minnesota and deterioration of the Zoo noticed by engineers last year to even get us to where we now are.

In fact, in 2001-02, former Governor Scott McCallum did a series of commercials for his DOT promoting public input on the upcoming Marquette Interchange project.  If memory serves, the Doyle Campaign at the time attacked the ads as a waste of taxpayer resources and McCallum using them to boost his public profile for the 2002 race.

(I now wait for 2002 Doyle Campaign Manager and uber-liberal blogger Bill “Xoff” Christofferson to tell me I’m lying.)

The truth is Doyle has never given a damn about Milwaukee’s interchanges and consistently opposed any means to replace them.  He only got on-board the Marquette after it was announced the were going to be both under-budget and ahead of schedule — a rarity in a public works project of that size — and he could use it to his advantage as a public relations victory.  Beyond that, Doyle has shown he doesn’t view transportation projects as vital to the state.

Raiding the transportation fund budget after budget and using it as a slush fund during his tenure as Governor only enhances that image.

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“Zoo Interchange” Bridge Closed Indefinitely

Just think, we’re gonna have some really nice highways to Illinois…

State authorities closed the Highway 45 bridge carrying traffic northbound over I-94 in the Zoo Interchange shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, fearing that overweight trucks could collapse the deteriorating span.

The bridge, which carries an average of 42,000 vehicles per day, will remain closed until its replacement is completed. That work, started in January as part of an emergency repair project, is expected to be done by Memorial Day.

“This is a public safety action,” said Ryan Luck, construction manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “There’s no room to gamble on this.”

After inspections detected dangerous cracking and deterioration of the bridge in the summer of 2009, the DOT imposed weight limits on three bridges in the interchange. They then acted to replace them, under an emergency contract.

Officials said that overweight trucks continued to travel on the northbound bridge, compounding the deterioration and creating a danger of collapse.

Northbound traffic will be detoured east onto I-94 and returned to the freeway via 84th St. and the westbound freeway.

This is the heaviest traveled highway in Wisconsin, even more so then the recent replaced “Marquette Interchange” in Milwaukee of I-43/I-94.  How this doesn’t have an effect on the Governor’s race given the history of it (Doyle and Milwaukee Democrats pushed repairs on the Zoo for YEARS because of the urging of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running to replace Doyle.) is beyond me?

Somewhere, a bunch of Democratic spokes-flacks are huddled in a room in Madison (with a conference call to a room in Milwaukee for good measure) trying to figure out a way to deflect blame.

UPDATE: The Walker Campaign was nice enough to post a map of the detour the Zoo will now be undertaking.

Both the Neumann and the Barrett campaigns have chimed in as well on the Zoo Interchange issue as well.  Neumann comes off like he’s reading you the history of the problem (countless  transportation fund raids, in-fighting from Milwaukee politicians, and poor DOT planning).  Barrett sounds like they know they’re backed in a corner on this one and are lashing out; particularly at the Walker campaign.

Also, in what is a sure sign of the “Oh, $#!+” status for Barrett on this issue, it’s 4:15 CT — admittedly on a Friday — and I have yet to see a post from the usual set of liberal bloggers in the Cheddarsphere trying to spin this one.

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