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Public weighs in on overpass at Green Bay and Brown Deer roads

Aug. 5, 2014

Brown Deer — Brown Deer residents sounded off last week on two different designs for the intersection of Brown Deer Road and Green Bay Road.

The Department of Transportation plans to resurface Green Bay Road from Teutonia Avenue in Brown Deer to Mequon Road in Mequon, due to deteriorating pavement, a projected slight increase in traffic and inadequate vertical clearance for Brown Deer Road traffic under the Green Bay Road overpass.

The DOT has proposed reconstructing the existing Green Bay Road overpass over Brown Deer Road, but the Brown Deer Village Board has publicly denounced those plans in favor of removing the bridge and creating a traditional signalized intersection.

Both intersection designs would create six lanes of traffic on Green Bay Road from Deerwood Drive to Ruth Place. Brown Deer Road under the overpass will also be expanded to six lanes to match the rest of the road east and west of the overpass.

Brown Deer Village Manager Michael Hall said the bridge limits the view of businesses in the recently reconstructed Original Village area, as well as the shops in the Marketplace of Brown Deer. With increased visibility of the mall, the owners of the Marketplace might consider building a new store in the parking lot near TJ Maxx.

"What we're trying to do is slow things down and open up the sight lines," Hall said. "We want to allow people to see that there is economic development in Brown Deer, instead of flying over it on this big ugly bridge."

Creating a traditional signalized intersection would cost $2 million less than the installation of a new bridge.

The elimination of the on ramps and off ramps from Green Bay Road onto Brown Deer Road would free up 2.9 acres of land, but that land would remain under the state's jurisdiction. Private property owners could apply to the DOT to create access roads or driveways near City of God Church, the Fox 6 studios and the Brown Deer Marketplace.

Removing the bridge would, however, increase the traffic at that intersection by an estimated 13,000 cars per day. The DOT estimates a signalized intersection would result in three to seven more car crashes per year, compared to the diamond interchange option.

"The possiblity of having more crashes is very likely," said Jessica Lewis of GAI Consultants.

Resident Roger Gordon opposes the removal of the bridge and the creation of a flat intersection.

"Will it slow traffic? Oh yeah, it will slow it down to the point where tempers are going to flare," he said. "You'll have fender benders and road rage, and it will get worse every year as they develop the areas north and west of here."

Brown Deer resident Jackie Wille said the removal of the bridge would make the area more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as opening up visibility at the intersection.

"What village wants a freeway-type interchange going right through the middle of it?" she asked.

Ellen Jogwer, who lives near the intersection on Kildeer Court, said she has already lost her backyard with the construction of Green Bay Road. She does not look forward to seeing the road expand to six lanes, which would further cut into her backyard.

"I don't want a six-lane super highway running through my back yard," she said. "They are shoving this down our throat."

DOT officials will decide on an intersection design by the end of the year, in order to draft preliminary design plans and acquire necessary real estate in 2015. Construction is slated for 2019.

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