The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I was going to consider putting something up here about the Brewers' slow slide down the standings in the NL Central, but I decided to instead tackle something a bit more serious.

I don't know about you, but I spend a good chunk of my work commute on an Interstate highway. A little under six miles, maybe 11 and a half round-trip. During that time, I don't cross any major rivers, but I do know that there's at least one overpass on that stretch. As I'm driving to work, I don't generally think much about what I'm driving on, or what's going on around me.

Not that I don't notice when something's going on with construction; this is, after all, Wisconsin, where there's two seasons - Winter and Road Construction. About a decade back, they spent three years reconstructing the interchanges with County Highway SS and Highways G/TT, which involved what I like to call a "long chicane" that essentially diverted most of the traffic on I-94 to what eventually became the eastbound lanes. The interchanges were an improvement, of course, but they're once again doing construction on the section just to the East of this now - right before I get on the Interstate.

Noticing the construction isn't the major issue, of course. What is the issue, especially after what happened on I-35W in Minneapolis, is when there's a major screw-up. When they were doing the dual interchanges a decade ago on I-94, the only screw-up was that they waited until December to finish the work - and we promptly had three straight Monday snowstorms that canceled further construction until April.

I guess we here in Waukesha County are fortunate; that screw-up by WIDOT wasn't major catastrophic failure. Not like we haven't had that before (see the Hoan Bridge section collapse). But there has been all the talk about the High-Rise bridge and the Marquette Interchange construction. You wonder, especially after this little incident in Minneapolis, how sound that section of freeway might be. The High-Rise is even higher off the ground than the I-35W bridge was in the Twin Cities - anyone who's ever driven through the area knows that - and if something happened to that bridge...

It does make you wonder, though.