I-43 Hillside Interchange Rehabilitation Project

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Interstate 43 (I-43) traverses more than 190 miles through Wisconsin, connecting Milwaukee with Beloit to the southwest and Green Bay to the north. I-43 provides access to the arts and entertainment district, as well as the Milwaukee County Courthouse and other popular destinations through the Kilbourn Avenue Tunnels.

Michael Baker took on the responsibility of construction management and inspection services for this rehabilitation project, including preventative maintenance of 14 structures with two tunnels and 12 bridges along a 1-mile stretch of I-43 from Wisconsin Avenue to Walnut Street. Work included new ADA-compliant pedestrian facilities and bus paths, which provided social benefits.

This $6 million project included concrete bridge deck overlay and painting of the 12th Street Bridge over State Trunk Highway 145 and thin polymer overlays on 11 bridges over I-43.

Because tunnels are a rarity in Wisconsin, working within the structures presented unique challenges, including protecting internal ventilation and performing maintenance of lighting systems. Hazards like dust were addressed to provide a safe working environment within the tunnel.

Notably, the tunnels are owned by two different entities: the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the City of Milwaukee. The Michael Baker team coordinated with both entities throughout construction.

Maintenance of traffic presented complexities for this project. To mitigate the impact to the traveling public, the work was completed at night, with most structures having overnight lane closures that were reopened each morning.

The project successfully fulfilled the client’s goal of completing preventative maintenance, making the corridor safer for those traveling I-43, improved traffic flow and extended the service life of this important stretch of infrastructure.


 “A lot of planning went into ensuring the community could still access the Deer District and downtown area. Overnight lane closures allowed our team to mitigate impacts to the public.”

Construction Management Department Manager

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