Ground broken for new Drexel Ave. Interchange along I-94

OAK CREEK --  There’s good news for drivers in Milwaukee County's south suburbs.  Soon, they'll have a new interchange to get onto I-94.  On Friday, Governor Scott Walker, state transportation officials and the Mayors of both Oak Creek and Franklin broke ground on what will become the new Drexel Interchange.

It'll allow drivers to get onto and off of the interstate via Drexel Avenue, instead of taking Rawson Avenue or Ryan Road.

“A lot of people come to the church and it will be easier for them to attend,” said Father Rewis Awadalla of St. Mary’s Coptic Church, located right off the highway.

The new interchange will also provide better access to Franklin and Oak Creek, two communities that have pushed for this project for quite some time.

“We've probably been talking about this for 5 years,” said Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi.

He says the interchange will pave the way for new development near the freeway.  At the groundbreaking Friday, he announced plans for the former Delphi manufacturing site.

“We are developing a mixed use town center.  It's going to have City Hall, a library, retail, some cool restaurants.  We're hoping to have a real, old-style city town square area that people can really enjoy year round,” he said.

This is the first new interchange in Milwaukee County since the expressway was built in the 1970s. Walker calls it a first step to a long-term plan of even more growth and hundreds of jobs to be added in southern Milwaukee County.

“This is a gateway for us both when it comes to the port and the airport, obviously coming up from Chicago and key to economic development,” said Walker.

The Drexel Interchange project is expected cost around $10.7 million.  The state will be paying for half of that cost.  The rest will come from the city of Oak Creek and Northwestern Mutual, which has its headquarters just west of the interchange in Franklin.

Construction will start at the end of this month and is expected to be completed in November.