By David Tanner
The Wisconsin DOT is enforcing a truck weight restriction on three ramps of the busy “Zoo” interchange in Milwaukee.
More than 350,000 vehicles use the interchange each day, and it is considered the busiest in the state. An inspection showed degradation to steel and concrete used in the ramp construction.
Officials said the restriction is necessary to preserve the ramps until they can be rebuilt, but a time frame has not been set. The interchange opened in 1963.
“Considering Wisconsin’s dire finances, hell may freeze over before these ramps get redone,” said OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz. A former owner-operator, Rajkovacz called Wisconsin his home for 35 years.
Rajkovacz said thousands of truckers use I-94 in the Milwaukee area as an alternative to I-90, which is a toll road, from Chicago to Madison. Any way to avoid the restricted area should be considered, he said.
If it’s not rush hour, Rajkovacz recommends truckers stay on I-94 to downtown Milwaukee, swinging west to Madison.
If rush hour is a consideration, Rajkovacz recommends taking the first part of I-894, hopping onto I-43 (Hale Interchange toward Beloit) for five miles and exiting north onto Moorland Road, also marked as Milwaukee County Route O. After about six stoplights, a driver will end up back on I-94.
Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department is overseeing enforcement with the help of a portable scale.
Fines range from $297 for 1,000 pounds overweight to $1,531 for 10,000 pounds over.
“We don’t intend to make this a heavier burden than it needs to be on the truck operator,” Sheriff’s Department Capt. Tom Meverden told Land Line.
Meverden assures drivers that enforcement of the restriction will be routine. LL