Monday, August 25, 2008

State Considering Replacing Hoan Bridge With Less Costly Alternative

Replace the Hoan Bridge with less expensive lift bridges at street level: an excellent idea under study at the state Department of Transportation.

The Milwaukee Business Journal was first out with the story, here, my own sources confirm it, and WTMJ-TV4's Tom Murray got it on the air Friday:

State officials are considering replacing the aging Hoan Bridge that spans Lake Michigan past the Summerfest grounds and Port of Milwaukee to Bayview with less expensive lift or draw bridges.

The Hoan is nearing the end of its useful life - - I was on it Monday morning, and its pavement is a mess. Plus, the bridge has already had major structural problems (a few years ago one section suddenly dipped, was dynamited out, then replaced).

As iconic as it is at the city's lakefront, replacing the overly-tall and wide structure with another hugely-engineered facility will be hard to justify financially.

Land for development could be opened up with a different bridge configuration, so it looks like a win for state taxpayers and the City of Milwaukee.

Expect opposition from some commuters, but should taxpayers around the state be billed to pay for The Hoan II, when alternatives are available?
State and city engineers can accommodate commuters, the harbor, and Port facilities; motorists already have the High Rise Bridge just to the west, plus routes on city streets, the Sixth Street Bridge and other travel options.

Carefully and efficiently, let's move this issue forward.

And while we're at it, let's get Howard and Layton Avenues near the airport repaired. For people coming into the area from the airport, the potholes and bumpy pavement are hardly welcoming, and it's been this way for too long.


Anonymous said...

Agreed this could really be a big benefit to the city if done right! Although the Marquette and 794 will still cut the Third Ward of this could open up the lakefront more and connect downtown to the Third Ward better.

Anonymous said...

The Business Journal has an article on this, too...

State weighs tearing down Hoan Bridge
Busalacchi: Rehab cost is ‘astronomical’^1688497

James Rowen said...

To Dave: Agree. To Mark, I added the Biz Journal piece, and if it was first, my apology.

I hope the city is enthusiastic.

Anonymous said...

Opposition will surely come from those south of Milwaukee who work west or downtown. This is plausible because many drive times will increase significantly. However, poor zoning and placement of a bridge over incredibly valuable and connecting real estate was unforeseeable during our industrial bliss. Times DID change; no one wants to pay for new anything; and the soon-to-be available land could become an economically catalyzing freshwater research park...Imagine, people actually being able to live, study and work downtown...

Nick said...

What kind of federal approval would this take? Because the Hoan is labeled as an Interstate (794), it has to meet certain minimum requirements, like lane width and barrier types. Can an interstate be interruptable by a lift bridge?

If not, what would it take, and is it feasible, to have that entire section unmarked as an interstate?