If This Idea Were Any Dumber, It Would Bark
Sometimes, you should just quit while you're ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, state Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi was enjoying well deserved accolades for helping bring the Marquette Interchange Project in on time and under budget. Rather than simply resting on his laurels, Busalacchi is now floating the idea of tearing down the Hoan Bridge. With the completion of the Lake Parkway, the Hoan Bridge now handles over 40,000 vehicles each day.
With apologies to man's best friend, if this idea were any dumber, it would bark!
According to officials, while the Hoan Bridge remains structurally sound, the road surface needs repair. GIven the fact that it was only opened in 1977, it would raise serious questions about workmanship if the bridge had become structurally obsolete in only 30 years. Therefore, assuming that we're only talking about a repair of the road surface, how could it possibly be cheaper to tear down the bridge, build ground level roads and install multiple smaller bridges?
Since the Lake Parkway finally opened, it's been a real boon to the near south side. It's also served to take a lot of pressure off of I-43 and I-94 by giving people an alternative north/south route to locations like the airport. By diverting traffic off the Hoan Bridge and onto city streets, the appeal of the Lake Parkway as an alternative route decreases exponentially.
I recognize that some developers will embrace this idea in the mistaken belief that, if the Hoan Bridge comes down, people will want to buy condos along the new "ground-level boulevard". Forgive me if I'm somewhat skeptical of the market for high-end housing in the immediate vacinity of a sewage treatment plant.
Regardless, you don't sell your car because the ashtrays are full - and you don't tear down a 30-year old bridge because the road surface needs work.
I rarely agree with Christine Sinicki, the Milwaukee Democrat who represents the near south side in the Wisconsin Legislature. In this case though, she's absolutely right when she says that "anybody who talks about tearing the Hoan Bridge down is out of their mind."
Put another way, if this idea were any dumber, it would bark.