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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Your Mitchell Interchange user guide

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Babies don't come with instructions, but new freeways do.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is taking the wraps off the redone Mitchell Interchange--for those of you not from these parts, it's the part of the Interstate where 894 meets up with 94/43 and the Airport Spur.   It's been under construction seemingly forever, but the orange barrels go and the ribbon gets cut Friday.   And, to get you used to all the new interchange has to offer, the DOT is out with an Internet user guide

You might need it.

There are tunnels, u-ramps, collectors and no more left hand merges--remember that sick feeling you had coming off 94 to head west on 894 where, invariably, there'd be a massive semi literally rubbing up against your driver's side rear view mirror?  Felt like you cheated death every time you made it through intact.   That's been fixed now, as this DOT animation shows.




Or, if you're coming the other way...





And then, there are those sexy u-ramps.   To my untrained eye, they eliminate the need to wait forever at a traffic light to turn left to get to your freeway on-ramp.   




The pavement is shiny and black.   The lines are crisp and new.  The architecture is bright and contemporary, with artwork featuring a silhouette of the Milwaukee skyline.    All that freshness and all of those changes mean you could end up heading to Chicago when you really wanted to go to Southridge.   You need to have your head in the game if it's your first time through the new Mitchell because to the uninitiated, you're going to feel as though you're in a different town.

Is it perfect?   We'll find out.   The best-laid plans of the DOT aren't always perfect, as we're finding out in the Marquette Interchange where 794 westbound continues to vex engineers while leaving commuters stuck in traffic jams.   A fix is on the way, but work on it won't start until spring.   Take your time, folks.




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