State considers two options for rebuilding Stadium interchange, stretch of I-94

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has narrowed the number of options for rebuilding the Stadium Interchange in Milwaukee. There are just two on the table now -- and a state transportation official tells FOX6 News the two choices were made after lengthy environmental impact statements were completed.

The controversial plans would reconstruct I-94 near the Stadium Interchange  -- and it comes with a hefty price tag; one that could top $1 billion -- mostly from federal funds. For a three-and-a-half mile project, it's had more than a little opposition.

One of the most contested plans is now on the front burner. A two-level, double-deck highway is being considered. The state says the primary reason this is a good option is because the freeway winds between two cemeteries. This option would allow no graves to be disturbed.

The other proposal keeps I-94 at a surface level with 11-foot wide lanes -- narrower than most. The off-ramps would be changed as well -- making access to the Menomonee Valley and Potawatomi Hotel and Casino more difficult.

"That money can be used in fixing potholes. that money can be used to fix our common streets and common highways," said Juan Carlos Ruiz, a member of the group Coalition for Responsible Transportation.

Ruiz has been active in protesting the freeway expansion. He calls it a waste of money -- and urges the government to spend the funds on existing streets and mass transit. Ruiz says his group is fine-tuning its own alternative plan to present.

As for WisDOT's plans, Ruiz said, "It's divided our communities. It's not good for our neighborhoods, not good for businesses. And the other option they are giving us is not going a long with the transportation system in the country. We need better transportation."

Any plan that is ultimately approved would have to go to the State Legislature for state funding approval. The first shovel wouldn't go into the ground until 2019.

CLICK HERE to read more about the state's plans from the Milwaukee Business Journal.