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Brown Deer officials want freeway feeling to go away

DOT, village leaders discuss options for Green Bay, Brown Deer roads

May 7, 2013

Brown Deer - Village officials this week weighed in on changes to the reconstruction of the interchange at Brown Deer and Green Bay roads. The consensus: The current configuration is a hulking structure that splits Brown Deer in half.

Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation came before the Village Board and sought feedback from elected officials on the project, which is in the design stage and slated for construction in 2019.

The DOT is planning reconstruction of the interchange because of a number of existing features that have been deemed inadequate.

Officials from the state agency assert a vertical clearance for Brown Deer Road traffic underneath the Green Bay Road overpass is not sufficient. Also, safety concerns have been raised because of deteriorating pavement.

At Monday's board meeting, officials appeared unanimous in their dissent toward the existing interchange configuration. Rather, they would like an at-grade intersection that would be more aesthetically pleasing and improve sight from both busy roadways.

"From the standpoint of the (Wisconsin) transportation budget, we understand that there are challenges," Village President Carl Krueger said to DOT officials. "Why not do something more cost effective?"

Nate Piotrowski, community development director, said he would like changes to the arterial area incorporated into a comprehensive plan document that was assembled several years ago.

"This is a document that received heavy input from our residents," Piotrowski said. "The feeling has been that this is basically a freeway in the middle of Brown Deer."

While gathering resident input for the comprehensive plan, Piotrowski said, "We did not hear anything positive about the design as it exists."

DOT officials have asserted changes to the interchange could also be precipitated by increased traffic, but Piotrowski and several board members disagreed with the comment.

With Brown Deer almost entirely built up and nearby Mequon and River Hills not seeking any significant development, Piotrowski said he did not envision traffic spiking along either roadway in the near future.

Trustee Andrea Weddle-Henning said she would like to see a number of options presented by DOT officials as the review process picks up steam.

"It would be nice to see some alternatives that would be cost effective," Weddle-Henning said. "We're open to alternatives."

Trustee Terry Boschert lives in the Original Village portion of the community. The historic area has been a point of focus in the village's marketing and redevelopment efforts, and it is situated near the interchange.

"Traffic has been a concern in the Original Village," Boschert said. "Sometimes there just isn't a break in traffic during rush hour."

DOT representatives indicated they plan to take comments from staff members and elected officials into account as design work progresses. Although a specific date has not been set, plans call for another update at a Village Board meeting in the near future.

Because the work under consideration falls within the purview of the DOT, the village is not expected to contribute any of its own funds to the project, unless cosmetic work - including lighting fixtures and signage - is incorporated into the plan.

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