Wisconsin Department of Transportation — Zoo Interchange Core and Adjacent Arterials

Originally completed in 1963, the interchange that connected visitors to the Milwaukee Zoo and people to the Regional Medical Center suffered from serious deterioration. The 56-year-old bridge could no longer safely accommodate the 350,000 vehicles crossing per day and its outdated design featured left- and right-hand entrance and exit ramps spaced too close together, contributing to crash rates between two and five times higher than the statewide average. The $986 million Zoo Interchange Core and Adjacent Arterial project was a collaborative between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the public to improve safety and the operations of the freeway. This project used a variety of innovative solutions and designs, including efforts to alleviate merging and weaving from the main thoroughfares via 3D modeling in the Zoo Interchange design. Throughout the design and construction process, the Wisconsin DOT kept the public informed and engaged. With these innovative design approaches, the agency minimized the construction impact on neighborhoods, while prioritizing safety and efficiency – ultimately improving access and increasing traffic flow across the bridge.