Brown Deer - State transportation officials have confirmed that the overpass at Brown Deer Road and Green Bay Avenue will be torn down and replaced with a traditional signalized intersection.
The state Department of Transportation had originally planned to reconstruct and expand the Green Bay Road overpass above Brown Deer Road, but in 2014, the Brown Deer Village Board passed a resolution opposing the reconstruction of the overpass, saying it blocked visibility and access to local businesses and divided the community in half.
The village board's resolution put political pressure on the DOT to come up with a new solution, so in February 2016, the DOT introduced the idea of a median U-turn intersection, also known as a "Michigan left" intersection. In a median U-turn intersection, cars making a left turn are directed to go straight through the intersection, make a U-turn after the intersection and then make a right turn onto the road they would have ordinarily turned left onto.
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.
In September, DOT officials sat down with Brown Deer officials and informed them that they were shifting away from the Michigan left configuration in favor of Brown Deer's preference for a traditional four-way intersection.
In a statement, DOT Southeast Region Director Brett Wallace said the decision to build an at-grade intersection "is the culmination of intensive work and coordination with all the interested parties.
"This decision will help reduce the cost of the project by $4 million dollars and shows a commitment by the department to work with the Village of Brown Deer to help spur job growth and development in this corridor,” he said.
Brown Deer Village Manager Michael Hall said the shift to a traditional, at-grade intersection will help the village facilitate economic growth at the Brown Deer Marketplace shopping center and in the Original Village district. By eliminating the overpass, the village will be able to improve access and visibility of the two retail areas.
The intersection is a part of a project that will reconstruct or resurface portions of the roadway on Green Bay Avenue from Teutonia Avenue north to Mequon Road. Only a half mile of the overall project length is scheduled for a full reconstruction.
Originally scheduled for 2019, the project will now be bid out in the fall of 2021. The project is now estimated to cost $12 million dollars. The intersection at Donges Bay Road is also set for additional improvements.