Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is WisDOT showing bad faith again?

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials keep saying no decision has been made on whether to expand North-South I-94. At least that's what they have been telling people in Milwaukee, which would suffer most a the major consequences. (Would you like some additional lung damage with that extra lane, little child?)

In Racine County, where the areas around I-94 are not so developed, WisDOT is signaling loudly that expansion is basically a foregone conclusion, but doesn't want to say that out loud until February.

No surprise, especially since WisDOT already has "accidentally" announced plans to expand the freeway.

From the Racine Journal-Times:

STURTEVANT - The coming eight-year reconstruction of Interstate 94 is steering itself toward an expansion to eight driving lanes, state planners say...

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials said the agency is still taking comments about whether I-94 should remain at six lanes or expand to eight. However, it was clear they find the arguments for eight lanes far more persuasive.

The big question for many people may be: six lanes or eight? The answer seems mostly predetermined, although Mohr said the decision won't be announced until next February. The interchanges, he said, are each being designed to accommodate either scenario.

DOT officials cited a daily traffic count of 88,000 vehicles along I-94 through Racine County. The 35-year projection is for 121,000 vehicles per day, a 37.5 percent increase. Gutierrez said that project includes some of the larger developments expected along I-94 - notably in Mount Pleasant and Caledonia.

For the DOT, favoring eight lanes is natural. "A free flow of traffic is much safer than stop-and-go driving," Gutierrez said.

"If you want to increase the level of service, you would address that through capacity expansion."

Sure hope WisDOT hasn't made up its 1950s-era collective mind before all the environmental testing is done and an alternatives analysis is completed. That would violate federal law and regulations.

WisDOT wouldn't do that, would it?


Dave said...

You'd also think the DOT would of learned that more lanes equals more congestion! And that the far better solution for SE Wisconsin is improved mass transit.

citydem said...

WisDOT plays this game every time. First it's "too soon to say".Then it's "too late to change it".