Brown Deer - After years of advocating for the removal of the state-owned overpass at Green Bay and Brown Deer roads, it appears the Brown Deer Village Board has successfully made its case to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The DOT plans to reconstruct Green Bay Road from Teutonia Avenue to Mequon Road in 2019. As part of the project, the DOT had originally planned to reconstruct and expand the Green Bay Road overpass above Brown Deer Road, but the Brown Deer Village Board opposed the reconstruction of the overpass, saying it blocked visibility and access to local businesses and divided the community in half.
Brown Deer trustees adopted a resolution in 2014 stating their preference for an at-grade intersection that allows visibility to the Original Village area and the Marketplace of Brown Deer shopping center. The resolution put political pressure on the DOT to come up with a new solution, so in February, the DOT introduced the idea of a median U-turn intersection, also known as a "Michigan left" intersection.
The median U-turn intersection received a mostly-positive reception from the village board in February and from residents during a public information meeting in May. The DOT engineers emphasized that some public education would be needed to explain the intersection, which has not yet been seen in Wisconsin.
Village trustees were expecting to pass another resolution in favor of the median U-turn intersection, but during a recent meeting with the DOT, they learned DOT management was planning to go ahead with a traditional at-grade intersection with two left turn lanes on each quadrant. Public Works Director Matthew Maederer said the intersection would look similar to Good Hope Road and 76th Street.
Village President Carl Krueger said he and other village officials were shocked when the DOT expressed a willingness to go with an at-grade intersection.
“We simply said we stand with the original resolution and the at-grade intersection,” Krueger said.
Trustee Jeff Baker was less pleased with the DOT's change in heart, since the community had expressed interest in the median U-turn intersection at the May public information meeting. He said the median U-turn intersection has better pedestrian access and avoids the conflict of left turns. DOT officials have previously said median U-turn intersections are safer than at-grade intersections but not as safe as the overpass configuration.
Baker said the DOT's position in favor of the at-grade intersection "didn't sit well with him."
A representative from the DOT was not available to clarify the department's position as of this paper's deadline.