WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- Officials call it a free-flowing, state-of-the-art corridor providing additional capacity. The Watertown Plank Rd. interchange near the Milwaukee County medical complex in Wauwatosa is now open to traffic. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) celebrated the achievement with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday afternoon, December 2nd.
All of the road closures, diverted traffic and changing traffic flow were especially challenging for the patients, visitors and staff of the medical complex.
"This was, while I can't say it was painless, this was a remarkably professional construction project," said Robert Simi, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.
WisDOT officials say the project took a little more than a year -- and includes eight new bridges.
"These much needed improvements will hopefully result in long-term gains in job growth and economic development," said Kathleen Ehley, mayor of Wauwatosa.
"People should know this is not just the completion of a project; this is the completion of an epic project," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
Coming on the heels of this completed $66 million project is the near-completion of the new interchange at Highway 100 and I-94. That project is expected to wrap up in January 2015.
Meanwhile, a portion of the roadway in the Zoo Interchange will get a color change. Tuesday and Wednesday nights, WisDOT will close westbound I-94 just west of the Zoo to replace the traditional white and yellow land and edge markings. They'll be replaced with orange paint -- a first for a construction project in the U.S. It's intended to improve visibility for motorists in work zones.
"We've had some challenges in the past with white pavement marking on pavements and off alignments where sometimes isn't as visible as we'd like it to be under salt and grime and ice and snow," said Ryan Luck, Construction Chief for WisDOT.