The feds signed off on the EA back in 1995 and 1996. The document, in other words, is pretty damned old. If the project is delayed, as the JS suggested today and the Daily Reporter suggested three weeks ago, the EA will be even more outdated and stale.
For those of you concerned that WisDOT did not seek public input into interchange plans, relax. It did -- it's just that the public input occurred as long as 17 years ago. WisDOT held its first public meeting on the project in 1990 -- the EA says the final reconstruction alternatives would be presented at a public meeting to be scheduled in "early 1995."
The EA, which also addresses potential reconstruction of other Waukesha County interchanges, contains this howler: "The proposed improvements would not affect the type or volume of traffic in the study area." The agency says that any traffic increase would be the result of new development, not bigger interchanges.
Waitaminute. The build-out of Pabst Farms depends on construction of a new interchange so all those single-occupant cars can get there -- the interchange, not the development, is the first link in the chain leading to new traffic and congestion.
WisDOT officials have to know that. Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas and Pabst Farms spokesman Thad Nation have pretty much said as much. From the Daily Reporter:
County Executive Dan Vrakas said finalizing that interchange deal could help Pabst Farms’ effort to find a new developer for the project. Nation agreed with that point.
From the JS:
Norm Cummings, Waukesha County director of administration, said construction of the interchange is crucial for mall developers.WisDOT's refusal to recognize the negative impacts of construction the interchange is a gross dereliction of duty. We can all wait for the agency to fix this particular gross error, but we likely will be waiting a long, long time.