West Allis tries to bridge the gap caused by Greenfield Avenue project

Greenfield Avenue span comes down beginning Jan. 21

Preliminary utility work has begun and signs posted in advance of the long-term closure of the Greenfield Avenue bridge and access ramps beginning Jan. 21.

Preliminary utility work has begun and signs posted in advance of the long-term closure of the Greenfield Avenue bridge and access ramps beginning Jan. 21. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Jan. 11, 2013

West Allis - The city is readying and bracing itself for the closing of the busy Greenfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 894 beginning Jan. 21, when drivers will have to find a different crosstown route.

The vital bridge will be torn down and replaced in a project that's expected to last six months. During that stretch, "we're anticipating a lot of traffic on all our main streets," said Peter Daniels, West Allis principal road engineer.

Greenfield Avenue will be closed from 96th to 106th streets, although access to businesses and homes will be maintained.

Accommodating traffic

The bridge closure will effectively cut off Madison Elementary School, located just west of the freeway on 104th Street and Washington Avenue, from students living east of I-894. To help, the state Department of Transportation has agreed to provide $5,500 for a shuttle that will take those children from a bus stop at 97th Street and Washington Avenue to school, said Deb Rouse, director of business services for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Schools.

The project will impact traffic on the interstate highway, as well. Except for the northbound I-894 exit ramp (which will be closed for only two weeks) to eastbound Greenfield Avenue, freeway ramps entering and exiting the freeway at Greenfield Avenue will be closed for the duration of the project.

New signals have been installed at the freeway ramps at National and Lincoln avenues to help manage the flood of traffic that will no longer be able to get off at Greenfield, Daniels said.

During the closure, drivers should use 84th Street, Lincoln Avenue and 108th Street (Highway 100) to get around the project area, transportation officials advise.

Construction crews must meet a hard deadline, set for July 18 deadline, for the new bridge's completion, Daniels said. That's because Greenfield Avenue has to be open and ready to take on a lot of extra traffic resulting from closure of the intersection of Blue Mound Road and Highway 100, the busiest intersection in southeastern Wisconsin, starting that same day as part of the Zoo Interchange reconstruction effort, Daniels said.

Road cones elsewhere, too

Greenfield Avenue will only be part of the problem of getting around in 2013. The Cleveland Avenue bridge over I-894 also will be closed from May through September.

Combined with the Greenfield bridge closure, that means that two of the five major routes to get from the east side of West Allis to the west side will be down, Daniels noted. The remaining bridges over I-894 are National, Lincoln and Oklahoma avenues.

There is a sixth bridge over I-894 at Schlinger, but that's only lightly used, he said.

Closing the Cleveland Avenue bridge will affect General Mitchell Elementary students and Nathan Hale High School students living east of I-894. But the Dakoa Street bridge will be open at all times to provide student access, Rouse noted.

Hale students can also take advantage of city bus routes, which will work around the reconstruction, she said.

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