Tag Archives: Oak Creek Parkway

For A Smoother Parkway

Oak Creek Parkway road

Milwaukee County is proposing to spend close to $1 million to rebuild Oak Creek Parkway from the railroad trestle near South Milwaukee High School, east to Chicago Avenue.

The project, contained in the county’s recently released capital budget proposal and pushed by Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik and County Executive Chris Abele, would begin in 2016 with planning and design, with the construction work being done in 2017. From the capital budget plan …

The project scope for 2017 work is anticipated to include reconstruction of the storm sewer and pavement systems. Storm water best management practices and green infrastructure is included. Replacement of municipal utilities such as sanitary sewers, water mains, and storm sewers are being coordinated with this project.

I ask that the full county board approve this plan. If you’ve driven this stretch lately, you know it’s necessary work — or, as the budget plan puts it, a “highest priority” project for a road in need of “immediate renovation.”


Filed under Construction, Milwaukee County, South Milwaukee

Beech Street Bridge Update: Working Hard Toward A Replacement

Not surprisingly, there are lots of folks wondering “what’s next?” for the Beech Street foot bridge over Oak Creek. I am one of those people, and continue to press the county for action.

Here is an update from County Supervisor Patricia Jursik …

The Parks Department has gotten initial estimates on the bridge replacement. The figure is in the ball park of $150,000. The bridge can no longer just be repaired as it was last time in 2010 when the flood washed it out. It will now need new bridge footings.

We have been exploring how to pay for this cost since it was not in the county budget. The Parks Department has said they do not have “cash” to pay for this. Parks is exploring whether there may be excess funds available in our capital budget. (This occurs when we borrow for other projects that do not cost as much as planned. Typically the county has excess funds in almost every year because of the amount of borrowing we do in both Parks and Highway among others.) The good news is that replacement of a bridge is an appropriate project to use capital funds (IRS rules).  

I know the City of South Milwaukee would like this bridge replaced ASAP since there are so few routes across the creek for the subdivision in question.  There is an estimate from the schools that about 200 children live in the subdivision and need to have access to a crossing without going to either Rawson or College.  

If county officials can be convinced this is an emergency need, there could be an argument to get cash out of the county’s contingency funds, and it could be done without going through a lengthy RFP process. Without this classification, all projects must go through standard channels that require an RFP. If the county must go through our standard procedure, it will be nearly impossible to get this done by September. As it stands now, we should be signing contracts and getting the work started immediately to meet a September deadline.  

So, where do we go from here? Supervisor Jursik pledges to continue to push hard to get this repaired as soon as possible, and I will stand beside her in making this case with the county executive and others.

We both know how important this bridge is, not just for school traffic, but for all of the recreational users of the Oak Creek Parkway – from joggers to bicyclists to dog walkers.

We will keep you updated throughout the work to replace it.

Also of concern are reports that people (especially kids) are going around the barricades and using the closed (and unsafe) bridge anyway. I have asked the county to step up efforts to prevent this. While the closure is frustrating, we can’t have people ignoring the signage and attempting to cross the bridge. It’s too dangerous.

We ask for patience. This bridge must be fixed for the long term, and done the right way.


Filed under Milwaukee County, Parks, South Milwaukee

Beech Street Foot Bridge Closed Indefinitely

Beech Street bridge

Some bad news for students walking to South Milwaukee Middle and High School, and those who love walks and bike rides along Oak Creek Parkway: The Beech Street foot bridge over Oak Creek has been closed indefinitely and may need to be completely replaced.

That’s the word from the Milwaukee County Parks Department, who called me late this afternoon. Workers were closing it down this evening.

A citizen alerted me to a concern over the bridge swaying late last week, and I informed County Supervisor Pat Jursik. The county had engineers inspect it today, when the order was issued after they deemed it “structurally unsafe.”

The county tells me it’s likely the bridge will have to be fully replaced, so be prepared for a long closure.

Of course, this is not the first time this bridge has had issues. Still, we appreciate your patience, and we will know more about next steps in coming days and weeks. I’ll keep you posted.


Filed under Milwaukee County, Parks, South Milwaukee

“Severe Infestation”? Sobering News On Emerald Ash Borer’s Presence In South Milwaukee

Is emerald ash borer in South Milwaukee?

This email from Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik — sent in response to a constituent concern about trees being cut down near Oak Creek Parkway recently — essentially confirms it is.

Here is the email …

I communicated with the Milwaukee County Parks Department about the tree removal north of South Milwaukee High School.  This removal is indeed related to Emerald Ash Borer as your constituent surmised.

The forestry manager explained that the removal of the ash trees along 15th Avenue just south of Oak Creek Parkway is in response to a  severe infestation by Emerald Ash Borer near 15th Avenue, city sidewalks and park paths. The same week, Milwaukee County Parks forestry removed several mature ash trees just west of Grobschmidt pool because they were also infested and could pose a threat to the pool, and walkway.

The forestry manager believes that we will see a rapid increase in the infestation, removal and requests for removal of Ash trees in South Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Franklin, and Cudahy.  Forestry staff has confirmed infestations at several County Parks locations including Oak Creek Parkway, Grobschmidt Pool, Pulaski (Cudahy), Oakwood, the Sports complex and Southwood Glen.

Jursik also reported that South Milwaukee officials, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Milwaukee County Parks administration “have been proactively working together to identify and address infested ash trees.”

So that’s the problem on county land, and what the county is doing in response. What is the city doing?

As you may recall, the South Milwaukee City Council recently voted to match grant funding from the state to perform a GPS study of trees on city property and in the right of way, as well as develop options for fighting EAB.

It’s a start. At least we’ll get a better handle on the problem — and have the information we need as a council to make a decision on an EAB action plan. From the looks of things, we can’t start soon enough.


Filed under Milwaukee County, Oak Creek