Local: Street Index
County Highway Trunk J: State Road (Highway) 164
Compiled, transcribed, with notes added by
Michael R. Reilly
Looking for history of Highway J/164; please
send information to website Editor, see below. Also read Wisconsin
State Road (Highway) 74
Highway 92, Waukesha to Templeton, is in the first stages and will be open to
traffic next Saturday. Waukesha Freeman, September 28, 1922. Editor's
note: Sometime between Nov. 1922 and Oct 1924 Hwy 92 changed to State Highway
Hurtgen's Pavilion, Duplainville, STH 164. Waukesha Freeman, May 19, 1927. Editor's
note: Hwy 164 traveled from present day (April 19, 2005) from I-94 by the
American store north to Duplainville where it jogged to the right, continued
north to Hwy K, then west a 1/4 mile to resume its' northern direction (as
Waukesha Ave.) to terminate at Hwy 74.
New Road Widths Have Been Approved by Many Sixteen towns
and villages of Waukesha county have approved the ordinance passed in January by
the supervisors establishing the potential width of state and county trunk
highways at 90 to 120 feet, County clerk William Koehler announced today.
Mr. Koehler explained that the plan merely looks into
the future when roadways may need to be widened and serves as a warning against
constructing buildings on land that may some day be condemned for highway
purposes. "Since the present roadway width id 66 feet, it is obvious
the measure is looking a long way into the future.
The natural question is where would a state or county
trunk highway find a 120-foot roadway through the city of Waukesha?", said
Mr. Koehler. The towns to approve the new width are: Brookfield, Menomonee,
Merton, Mukwonago, Muskego, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, Ottawa, Vernon and Waukesha.
The villages are: Dousman, Lannon, Mukwonago, Butler, Pewaukee, Sussex and
Wales. Waukesha Freeman, March 12, 1931. Also see January 15, 1931, page
7 of 8.
During the past week County Trunk J has been surfaced with
a coat of black top from STH 74 north to the Catholic church on the county
line. Waukesha Freeman, September 18, 1940.
Want Warning Signal on Lisbon Plank Road - Complaints that the Soo
Line crossing on County Trunk K (Lisbon Plank Road) in the town of Lisbon is
unsafe, will be aired at a hearing called by the Wisconsin Public Service
commission for 10 a.m. on July 18 in the Waukesha court house.
The crossing is adjacent to STH 164 (State Highway or
SR, State Road 164), and signers of a petition presented to the state
commission claim that electric signals or other warning devices should be
erected to safeguard the motoring public at this crossing Waukesha Freeman, June
Sophie Manak's Club 164, town of Pewaukee. Waukesha Freeman, April 19, 1944
Hwy SS near STH 164 intersection. Waukesha Freeman, June 14, 1944
Hwy 16, 1 mile east of STH 164. Waukesha Freeman, October 18, 1944
Beck's Mill (Wauke-Mills?) 100 yards from STH 164. Waukesha Freeman, June 13,
STH 164 just south of city (Waukesha). Waukesha Freeman, January 1, 1946
Wonderland Tavern on STH 164. Waukesha Freeman, January 23, 1946
Prior to and after 1966, CTH J originated from CTH
KE (Jungbluth Road) as Glacier Road; paralleling CTH JJ (old Wisconsin Ave.,
between Pewaukee and Hartland); joining with CTH JJ where present day Wisconsin
Ave., Glacier Rd. and Ryan Street (present day CTH KF, which, i.e., Ryan St.,
may not have existed in 1966; it was probably Hill Street) intersect; continues on into Pewaukee heading east
(at intersection of Wisconsin, Hill, and Capitol) as Capitol Drive;
crosses railway tracks north of CTH SS (Watertown Road, later named CTH M)
in Pewaukee, then as Sussex Road, crossed SR 16, traveled north to CTH JF
(Lindsay Road - note: Lindsay is no longer a County Trunk Highway), then east along
Lindsay Rd. for approx. one mile to CTH F (or Swan Road, CTH F terminates*
there), becomes CTH J (Swan Rd.) north to CTH K (Lisbon Road);
turns east onto CTH K; turns north as CTH J becomes Maple Avenue
South Street); CTH J turns west at SR 74, then north again at present day
site of Pick 'n Save food store; continues north and terminates at SR 175
(Appleton Avenue) in Ackerville. Note: When SR 16 was widened to
four-lanes (or before), Sussex Rd. was terminated heading south, now joins/becomes
Cecelia Drive to Capitol Drive (SR 190).
*CTH F actually continued on, following CTH JF west to KF,
then north, where at Richmond Road, it becomes CTH F once more. This continued
north, turning west on SR 74, then north again through village of Merton
along with SR 74, where at St. John's United Church of Christ Cemetery, it
turned east then north (present day Center Oak Road; also the Merton-Lisbon town
line). CTH F then ends as Waukesha CTH in Monches.
After 1966: STH 164 (two-Lane) extended north from Duplainville
Rd. Note: In an email reply from Gary Evans, P.E.,
Engineering Services Manager, Waukesha County Public Works, Highway Department,
April 21, 2005, "I have a plan set dated July 1965 for the relocation of
STH 164 from Duplainville Road to what is now STH 74. The project began at
Duplainville Road and ended about ½ mile north of CTH K. The roadway was built
as a two lane facility. The work probably took place in 1966, but contact WisDOT
to be sure."
A follow-up from WisDOT says the work was
done in 1967. Trumpy, Jean [email protected]
In the late 1960's, CTH J was extended from
CTH K, directly north to it's SR 74 (present-day SR 164) intersection with
Silver spring Drive (CTH VV)
After 1977: SR 164 was to be widened to four-lanes. Initially, this four-lane highway
was to extend through village of Sussex and town of Lisbon, at least north to
CTH Q (border of Waukesha and Washington counties). Project never materialized,
and with later residential development, alternative routes to link Interstate
I-94 north to SR 41/45 were needed. Note: SR 164 ran south into
city of Waukesha as North Street, and terminated at the intersection of
Delafield, North and Moreland Sts.
Hwy 164 south of Sussex to I-94 is open again. Hwy 164 was
reopened from Hwy SS at Pewaukee to the expressway. It still remains closed
south of I-94 as the bridge over the Pewaukee River won't be completed until
December 9, 1977. A vehicle can now enter and exit I-94 at Hwy 164. Drivers no
longer have to get off at County F or Goerke's Corners exchange at Barker Rd.,
Hwy 164 has been closed since June for construction of a second bridge over
I-94, widening to 4-lanes, and the bridge over the Pewaukee river. Source:
Sussex Sun, Tuesday, November 22, 1977, page 1 and 2.
Originally, SR 83 was to be widened to four lanes, north
of SR16, but that project was successfully defeated by resident opposition.
In 1985 Waukesha County constructed a local trunk highway (originally
designated County Trunk Highway F, and later renamed County Trunk Highway
J between Capitol Drive (SR 190), north to Lindsay Road. Involved the
filling in of as much as 7.5 acres of wetlands north of Swan Rd. Called Project
Waukesha county Senior Civil Engineer Burt Kalister, what
was to become the CTH J extension from was started April 1, 1985, and should be
completed early Fall, then old "F" would be turned over to the towns
of Lisbon and Pewaukee; the extension will cost over $1 million. Sussex Sun,
Tuesday, May 14, 1985.
Sussex Sun, September 24, 1985 - Last week Waukesha
county renamed CTH F from Capitol to Waukesha city limits to "J"; The
new section will be CTH J. Highway J west of Pewaukee or Glacier Rd. will be
Highway GR from Capitol to Highway KE. Highway F (Moraine Drive) renamed CTH MD,
from K to VV. These other name changes effective January 1, 1986.
Note: In an email reply from Gary Evans,
P.E., Engineering Services Manager, Waukesha County Public Works, Highway
Department, April 21, 2005:
"STH 164 was widened from I-94 to Capitol
Drive in 1987 as a four lane facility."
"In 1992 STH 164 was widened to Four lanes from STH 190
north to Main Street in Sussex."
In a WisDOT email
from Trumpy, Jean [email protected],
she states that Hwy 164 was widened to 4-lanes from Duplainville Rd. to SR 190
in early 1988, then later that year from SR 190 to CTH K (Lisbon Rd.). In 1994,
it was extended to Main St. (SR 74) in Sussex. Editor's note: with these years
now available, I will search the local newspaper for verification on years.
According to a December 8, 1999 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com
stated the City of Waukesha "named the state Highway 59/164 bypass the Les
Paul Parkway, after the electric-guitar pioneer" in 1998.
Notices being sent on highway name changes
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, November 30, 1998
Notices are being sent to property owners getting new addresses along what is
now Washington County Highway J .
Effective Jan. 1, the new address will be state Highway 164 .
The switch is part of a jurisdictional transfer agreed to about three years ago
by Washington County and the state Department of Transportation. Notices are
being sent by the state.
Under the transfer, the state will assume responsibility for a 15.5-mile stretch
of Highway J , from Highway 175 in the Town of Polk to Capitol Drive in
"The state didn't want to change the name until there was a similar agreement
with Waukesha County," said Ken Pesch, Washington County highway commissioner.
Also, a section of what is now Highway 164 in Waukesha County will be
renamed Highway 74.
"The biggest thing will be to make sure all the emergency responders and the
fire departments know about the new highway names," Pesch said.
And, in what is sure to be a mixed blessing, "all the property tax bills will go
out before the name change takes effect," he said.
Control over County Highway J to be shifted to state Jan. 1 - Also, several
area roads will be rerouted, renamed under agreement for switch
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tuesday, December 22, 1998
Author: LORI HOLLY, Journal Sentinel staff
Commuters traveling along County Highway J between Waukesha and
Washington counties might find themselves a little confused when they head back
to work after the New Year's Day celebration, because the thoroughfare will have
become a state highway.
The transfer, the major component of a pact the Department of Transportation
negotiated with the counties, will result in the renaming and rerouting of
several highways in the area, department officials said Monday.
The changes are included in the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning
Commission's Highway Jurisdictional Plan 2010 that both counties adopted several
Under the deal, the state will take jurisdiction of 15.5 miles of Highway J
from Capitol Drive in Waukesha County to state Highway 175 in the Town of Polk
in Washington County on Jan. 1.
The state's jurisdiction of the road will be extended in 2004 to include the
segment from Capitol Drive to I-94 after the county widens that segment from two
to four lanes.
"County J has outgrown its status as a local arterial and serves a much broader
region," said Roger Cupps, a department planning team leader. "It has become a
major connector route. It can provide better access from U.S. 41 to Waukesha as
a state road."
The agreement shifts responsibility for maintaining Highway J from the
counties to the state. Also, the state plans to expand the highway in several
years to accommodate the increased volume.
According to the department, the traffic volume along the highway ranges from
10,400 vehicles per day north of Capitol Drive in Waukesha County to 4,020 south
of state Highway 175 near Ackerville in Washington County.
Also beginning Jan. 1 as part of the agreement:
* State Highway 164 will be rerouted west on state Highway 190 (Capitol
Drive) to County J, then north to state Highway 175 at Ackerville. The highway
will be renamed state Highway 164 for the length of the route.
* State Highway 74 will be extended south from its intersection with state
Highway 164 in Sussex to meet state Highway 164 and state Highway
* The county will take jurisdiction of 8.5 miles of state Highway 99 in Waukesha
County from south of Eagle to Mukwonago. The highway, which primarily functions
as a local road, will become County LO, after longtime County Board Chairman
Lloyd Owens. The highway designation was unveiled last week during a ceremony
* The county will also take jurisdiction of the Goerkes Corners park-and-ride
lot. But if improvements along the East-West Corridor require improvements to
the lot, the state will pay for them.
1999 WisDOT announced it was studying the widening of CTH J/SR 164
Abt 1998-1999: County Trunk Highway J north of Capitol Drive is renamed State
SR 164 now runs from Moreland Blvd in city of Waukesha,
north to Capitol Drive, then proceeds west along Capitol Drive, then north on
former CTH J, until terminating at SR 175 (Appleton Ave.) in Ackerville,
Later, after the so called Ackerville bridge is built
(over SR 175), Lover's Lane is renamed SR 164 and continues to CTH 60 in
Slinger, Washington county. Note: In the city of Waukesha, SR 164
runs east along Moreland Blvd. (SR18) then southwest, then turning once more
south/southeast to Big Bend, traveling under Interstate I-43 and continuing
The Asphalt Rebellion - Area
residents fighting Highway 164 widening project are part of
an increasingly vocal movement nationwide challenging road
plans that threaten their way of life - For foes, plan isn't
progress, it's destruction
Journal Sentinel - Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Author: LARRY SANDLER,
Journal Sentinel staff
Standing on the farm where he grew up, David Rankin looked
out at the highway that's always been there and the protest
signs that showed up this year.
"I've lived here all my life," said Rankin, a Lisbon
mechanic. "I've seen all the changes here, 62 years of it. I
can't stop progress. You really can't stop progress. But I
think there's going to be a lot of upset people when they
find out the road's going to be in their front porch."
A lot of people who live along state Highway 164 in Waukesha
and Washington counties are already upset. And even if they
can't stop progress, they're doing all they can to stop this
particular four-lane version of it.
The neighbors' crusade against widening the newly designated
state highway from two lanes to four is the latest example
of a national movement dubbed "the asphalt rebellion." And
the rebels are armed with more than yard signs.
From Wauwatosa Road to the Kickapoo Valley, from S. 27th St.
to the Baraboo Hills, from Lincoln Memorial Drive to La
Crosse and along dozens of other roads across the country,
Internet-savvy neighbors and town boards are joining forces
with professional activists and renegade traffic engineers
to challenge state transportation departments and road
They are mounting increasingly sophisticated -- and
increasingly successful -- campaigns to prevent roads from
being built or expanded in directions that threaten their
homes and farms. And they are talking to each other.
"We are using the same strategy, the same information, the
same model" as groups fighting the widening of Wauwatosa
Road in Mequon and of U.S. Highway 12 in Dane and Sauk
counties, said Jeffrey Gonyo, spokesman for the citizens
group that has mobilized against widening Highway 164.
That group's trademark is displayed in David Rankin's front
yard and in the yards of many of his neighbors: a small
white sign with a red circle and a slash through the words
The controversy focuses on a stretch of road that starts as
Waukesha County Highway J at I-94, passing businesses,
subdivisions and office parks on its way to Capitol Drive.
Then the road becomes Highway 164, curving through rolling
hills and fields, punctuated by occasional concentrations of
homes and businesses, into Washington County and up to state
Not long ago, all of this two-lane road was called county
Highway J in both counties. But under a deal reached last
year, the state took over the stretch from Capitol to
Highway 60 and started studying whether it should be
widened. The same deal called for Waukesha County to widen
the stretch from I-94 to Capitol, then hand that over to the
state as well.
That deal reflects the highway's potential as a major
north-south route between Waukesha and Washington counties,
linking I-94 with U.S. Highway 41 and connecting the growing
communities of Waukesha, Pewaukee, Sussex ,
Slinger and Hartford, said Kenneth Yunker, assistant
director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning
The commission has recommended expanding the road to four
lanes, based on standards that say four lanes can be
justified by an average of 7,000 cars a day in rural areas
and 13,000 cars a day in urban or suburban areas, said Bryan
Bliesner, state Department of Transportation project
Traffic already tops those levels in Waukesha County but not
in Washington County, Bliesner said. However, projections
suggest traffic on the Washington County stretch will grow
about 70% in 25 years, he added.
Marijean Janzer has seen the traffic grow as it zips past
her home in Richfield's tiny Pleasant Hill community. She
knows it will keep growing. That's why she doesn't have a
protest sign in her yard.
"Nobody likes progress in their own backyard," Janzer said.
"We don't like it (the proposed widening), because it would
take part of our (front) yard. But I don't see a way around
But the traffic is only heavy in the morning and evening
rush hours, and light the rest of the day, said James Burant,
owner of the Pleasant Hill Tap. The 109-year-old
tavern is built close to the highway and would
likely be leveled by any expansion.
Across the street, surrounded by the toys of her three small
children, Shelia Hansen fears her home will suffer the same
fate. Hansen said she and her husband bought the
137-year-old former cheese factory from his mother "because
we want the kids to grow up where their dad grew up."
Like Hansen, Robert Deede would like to see an alternative
that doesn't "come right through the center of my house,"
which stands on a scenic hill in Sussex .
"I built the house many years ago," said Deede, a retired
millwright. "Raised my family here. Now, in the twilight of
my career, I want to live in my house."
Gonyo says Hansen and Deede could stay in their homes, and
Burant could keep his bar, if the state follows the
recommendations of his organization, the Highway J Citizens
The group has proposed building a new road along an electric
power line right of way in Menomonee Falls, avoiding homes
and businesses. The Transportation Department has asked the
planning commission to study that alternative.
Menomonee Falls Village President Joe Greco has blasted the
alternate plan as a not-in-my-backyard proposal that could
threaten wetlands. Gonyo said Menomonee Falls residents
would benefit from the alternate route, and wetlands also
could be threatened by widening Highway 164.
In addition to the alternate route, Gonyo said the state
could improve traffic flow and safety on Highway 164 by
adding turning lanes and stoplights at major intersections
and cutting the speed limit to 45 mph.
An afternoon drive along the highway last week showed
traffic backs up mainly at intersections, many of which are
controlled by stop signs rather than stoplights. And federal
figures show three of every five traffic deaths in Wisconsin
occur on two-lane roads with 55-mph speed limits, like
In designing its alternate plan, the citizens group has
downloaded safety data and traffic studies from the
Internet, and has relied on the advice of Walter Kulash, a
Florida-based traffic engineer who also aided the Wauwatosa
Road and Highway 12 opponents, Gonyo said.
Kulash is part of a band of engineers and planners who
challenge established guidelines that suggest wider roads
are safer, and who urge greater sensitivity to
neighborhoods. Some of those engineers are rising through
the ranks at state transportation departments, said Rob
Kennedy, state director of the New Transportation Alliance.
Kennedy's group, which is also aiding the highway opponents,
is a coalition of environmentalists and community activists
affiliated with the Surface Transportation Policy Project, a
media-savvy Washington think tank whose studies typically
critique highway expansion and support public transit,
bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways.
About 20 to 25 times a year, people who live near a planned
Wisconsin road project call the New Transportation Alliance
for help, Kennedy said.
That trend worries Tom Walker, executive director of the
Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and a former
Transportation Department official.
While residents have "a truly legitimate concern about the
transportation system in their neighborhood," Walker said,
"My biggest concern is the external political agenda that's
coming in and taking advantage of the situation."
Part of that agenda is what Walker calls an "ideological"
belief that highway expansion encourages urban sprawl by
providing an incentive for far-flung development. But Walker
and the planning commission's Yunker contend that stopping
road expansion would only worsen congestion as development
One thing Walker, Kennedy and the Transportation
Department's Bliesner agree on is that highway opposition
movements have been growing in recent years -- largely as a
result of federal laws requiring more public participation
-- and that transportation officials are paying more
attention to what they say.
The Milwaukee County freeway system was built by bulldozing
city neighborhoods "with standard 1960s insensitivity,"
Walker said. Now transportation officials must hold public
hearings, consider land-use impacts and add landscaping to
meet community demands, he said.
As a result of local opposition in the last two years, the
Transportation Department has abandoned plans to widen S.
27th St. in Milwaukee and has delayed plans to widen
Wauwatosa Road. Milwaukee County officials have changed some
aspects of Lincoln Memorial Drive reconstruction.
Also, state plans for an $80 million highway through La
Crosse appear to have been shelved, if not abandoned, after
residents voted by a 2-1 ratio against the project in a
But neighbors have lost many other battles, Kennedy said.
And controversies continue over widening Highway 12 and
rebuilding state Highway 131 in Vernon County, among others.
As for Highway 164, Bliesner says a final decision on the
project is expected sometime next year. And neighbors like
Shelia Hansen are still fighting, but they realize victory
is far from certain.
"We're hoping, but there's not a lot we can do," Hansen
said. ------------ Local and state officials will hold a
joint hearing on the Highway 164 project at 7:30 tonight in
the Hamilton High School gymnasium, W220-N6151 Town Line
Suit seeks to remove disputed bridge - Citizens group says state violated law
at Highway 164 span
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Friday, August 23, 2002
Author: DON BEHM, Journal Sentinel staff
Federal Judge Lynn Adelman could rule within a few weeks on a citizens group
lawsuit seeking both demolition of a Highway 164 bridge, now under
construction south of Slinger, and a prohibition against the widening of
Highway 164 in Waukesha and Washington counties, the judge's clerk said
The Highway J Citizens Group lawsuit alleges that the state Department of
Transportation violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it proceeded
with construction of the bridge without fully monitoring the proximity of
already polluted groundwater to the site.
"If the court finds there was a violation, we're asking the court to remove the
bridge," said Robert Corris, a Milwaukee attorney representing the citizens
group. Highway 164 formerly was known as Highway J .
The DOT is nearing completion of a $5.2 million embankment that will carry
Highway 164 above Highway 175 and a pair of rail lines at the unincorporated
community of Ackerville in the Town of Polk. The project also includes
rebuilding of a one-mile section of Lover's Lane, between Highways 60 and 175,
that will be renamed Highway 164 .
Bridge likely to stay
Demolition of the bridge would be an unlikely outcome even if the lawsuit is
successful, according to Frank Remington, an assistant attorney general with the
state Justice Department. He is representing the DOT.
The usual remedy if a judge finds there had been a violation of the act is for
the court to order a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, Remington
The citizens group believes an Environmental Impact Statement should be done on
both the bridge project and on the proposed widening of Highway 164 to
four lanes, according to the lawsuit, filed last month in federal court in
Milwaukee. The state DOT has completed only a more limited Environmental
Assessment on both projects.
In addition, the citizens group asks Adelman to order the DOT to pump grout into
holes where steel pilings were driven into the soil to support the bridge.
Driving steel pilings to depths of 80 feet will increase the permeability of
soil and speed the spread of the contaminant, arsenic, from an area west of the
bridge to private wells east of the construction site, the citizens group has
The lawsuit was filed with the goals of "maintaining Highway 164 as a
two-lane, scenic rural road and protecting the land and water in the area of the
Ackerville bridge from further contamination with arsenic and
trichloroethylene," according to the complaint filed by Corris.
Both the DOT and state Department of Natural Resources have said the
construction project would not affect groundwater quality in the area.
Tests of water samples collected in April and July from six special monitoring
wells affirm the state's position, said Ken Wade, a hazardous materials engineer
with the DOT in Waukesha.
"The tests confirm that the project will not impact movement of contaminants,"
Arsenic was detected in only one water sample, and that was such a small amount
that the laboratory could not quantify how much was there, according to Art
Baumann, the DOT's design engineer for the project.
The source of the arsenic in groundwater west of the bridge site could be rocks
and soil, according to DNR officials. Chemicals seeping out of a former landfill
probably leach naturally occurring arsenic from the rocks and soil.
Small amounts of trichloroethylene, a solvent known as TCE, also were detected
in two of the monitoring wells in both tests. None of those results violated the
state health standard for the chemical.
There is such a small amount of TCE in groundwater west of the bridge site that
it does not justify the expense of trying to remove it, DNR officials have said.
The TCE likely came from an unreported spill along the rail lines.
The Highway 164 overpass is needed to reduce the risk of accidents at the
railroad crossings and the skewed intersection of highways 164 and 175,
according to DOT officials.
About 5,000 vehicles drive on Highway 164 there each day, and more than
35 trains pass through Ackerville on tracks owned by Wisconsin Central Ltd. and
Wisconsin Southern Railroad.
Lawsuit seeking to demolish bridge dismissed - DOT tests have not found
contamination that has worried group
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Friday, June 6, 2003
Author: DON BEHM, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
Just three weeks before the $5.28 million Highway 164 bridge south of
Slinger will open to traffic for the first time, a federal judge has dismissed a
July 2002 citizens group lawsuit seeking to demolish the structure.
Federal Judge Charles Clevert rejected the Highway "J" Citizens Group claim that
the state Department of Transportation violated federal environmental laws by
constructing the bridge without fully monitoring the proximity of contaminated
groundwater to the site.
Highway 164 was Highway J before the state assumed jurisdiction
Jeff Gonyo, a Town of Polk resident, and other members of the group had said
that driving support pilings for the bridge would enable contaminants from an
area west of the highway to flow east toward private wells in the unincorporated
community of Ackerville.
By the time the group had filed its lawsuit, however, a majority of 150 of 177
pilings, or nearly 85%, already had been placed in the ground, Clevert says in a
written decision released Thursday.
The Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources had taken a "hard look"
at the impact of the pilings on movement of contaminants and concluded that the
project would not affect groundwater quality, the judge says.
Tests of groundwater before and during the placing of pilings found that
concentrations of two contaminants of concern to the citizens -- arsenic and a
solvent known as TCE -- did not increase, confirming the earlier conclusion,
according to Clevert.
Gonyo said Thursday that he would not comment on Clevert's decision. He referred
a reporter to the group's Milwaukee attorney, Robert Corris.
A receptionist at the Corris law firm said that he was out of the office and
would not comment until after he had reviewed the judge's decision.
Art Baumann, the design project manager for the DOT, said Thursday that he
expected the judge would uphold the department's earlier decisions on the basis
of its environmental studies.
"I'm pleased with the results," Baumann said of Clevert's decision.
Water tests still clean
Recent tests continue to show that the contaminants have not been stirred up by
construction activities and pushed east toward Ackerville, Baumann said.
Monitoring has not detected TCE. The solvent, which has been found in small
amounts in groundwater hundreds of feet west of the bridge, likely came from an
unreported, small-quantity spill along the rail lines, according to Philip
Fauble, a hydrogeologist with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Arsenic concentrations also remain so low in monitoring wells immediately west
of the bridge that the substance likely is coming from natural sources, such as
rocks and soil, Fauble said.
Though Clevert concludes that the DOT's environmental assessment of the project
was adequate and that there was no need for a full-scale environmental impact
statement, the judge includes one criticism of transportation officials in his
The department should have scheduled an additional public meeting after a final
decision was made on the depths of the pilings, Clevert says.
"Given the degree of controversy this project had aroused, additional public
involvement might have been wise," the judge says in his decision.
The 1.4-mile-long overpass rises 30 feet above Highway 175 at Ackerville and
spans a pair of rail lines. The project includes rebuilding of a one-mile
section of Lover's Lane, between Highways 60 and 175, that will be renamed
Highway 164 .
DOT officials have said that the bridge was necessary to improve safety at the
intersections of Highways 164 and 175 and at the Highway 164 crossings of
the rail lines.
The citizens group's lawsuit says that the bridge was built simply in
preparation for future expansion of Highway 164 to four lanes. Clevert
rejects that claim in his opinion.
Safety issue confirmed
The judge cites a highway safety report that counted 35 accidents in this
section of Highway 164 in 1999 and 2000. "The majority of these crashes,
23 of 35, took place at the intersection of 164 and 175," the judge says.
Safety problems could not have been alleviated by installing traffic lights and
gates at the rail crossings, the judge says in supporting the state's decision
to build the bridge.
One reason the bridge was a better choice is that during train use of the
tracks, vehicle traffic would have continued to back up on Highway 164
north to Highway 175, creating congestion at the busy intersection, state
officials have said.
Washington County overpass to remain standing - Group loses appeal to raze
Highway 164 bridge
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Author: DON BEHM, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
A panel of three federal appellate judges has denied a request by a
Washington County citizens group to demolish the Highway 164 bridge south
of Slinger that opened to traffic in late June.
Judges from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that state
transportation officials had fully complied with federal environmental laws in
carefully studying local residents' concerns about potential groundwater
contamination that might have been caused by bridge construction.
The state Department of Transportation met its responsibility in taking a "hard
look" at the environmental consequences of the project, the three-judge panel
said in a written decision.
"We disagree with the decision," said Robert Corris, a Milwaukee attorney
representing the Highway J Citizens Group. Highway 164 was known
as Highway J .
At this time, the group has only two options should it decide to push its legal
case, but success is not assured on either route, Corris said. The group could
ask for reconsideration before the entire 15-member appeals court in Chicago, or
it could appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Generally, when the 7th Circuit affirms a federal district court's decision,
that is typically the end of the case," Corris said.
Last year, the group filed a federal lawsuit alleging that DOT had not fully
monitored the proximity of previously contaminated groundwater to the bridge
construction site. Federal Judge Charles Clevert in Milwaukee rejected the claim
in early June of this year, just three weeks before the $5.28 million project
opened to traffic, and the citizens group appealed to the 7th Circuit.
The 1.4-mile-long overpass rises 30 feet above Highway 175 at Ackerville and
spans a pair of rail lines. The project also included rebuilding a one-mile
section of Lovers Lane, between Highways 60 and 175, that was renamed Highway
The bridge was needed to improve safety at the intersection of Highways 164 and
175 and at the Highway 164 crossings of the two rail lines,
transportation officials have said.
Driving steel pilings deep underground to support the weight of the overpass was
creating a route for contaminants west of the bridge to flow up, to the top of
groundwater, and then flow east to private wells in the unincorporated community
of Ackerville, the Highway J Citizens Group claimed in its lawsuit.
To prevent contamination of the Ackerville wells, the group asked that grout be
pumped around each piling to prevent the movement of contaminants. Its request
has now been rejected both by Clevert and on appeal to the 7th Circuit.
Grout was not necessary, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
The soil opening around the pilings would not provide a conduit for contaminants
to move more freely between levels of groundwater, DNR officials said in
documents released in 2000.
The only way to place grout at each piling would be to remove the bridge and the
embankment of soil that supports it, according to Art Baumann, the DOT's design
project manager for the Ackerville bridge.
In response to citizen concerns, the DOT had installed three pair of monitoring
wells immediately west of the bridge site. Tests of groundwater from the wells
showed that the level of contaminants did not increase during construction.
More recent tests show that two contaminants of concern to the group -- the
solvent TCE and arsenic -- are not being pushed east toward Ackerville, Baumann
TCE has been found in such small amounts in groundwater hundreds of feet west of
the bridge that it does not justify the expense of trying to remove it, DNR
officials have said. The likely source is an unreported, small-quantity spill
along the rail lines.
A state Division of Public Health report on Ackerville groundwater will be
available later this month on the Web site of the state Department of Health and
Family Services. Go to:
www.dhfs.state.wi.us/eh and then select
the link to public health assessment reports.
Highway J widening will begin on Monday - Crash rate exceeds statewide rate
for comparable roads
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Author: JACQUELINE SEIBEL, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
City of Pewaukee -- Reconstruction of a 2.5-mile stretch of Highway J
, the first of three phases of the Highway 164 project, begins Monday.
Highway J will be widened from two lanes to four lanes from Rockwood
Drive to Swan Road at a cost of $9.4 million.
The road expansion must be completed by Nov. 12, said Bruce Barnes, project
manager for the state Department of Transportation.
Once completed, Highway J will be renamed Highway 164 from
Rockwood Drive to Capitol Drive, joining Highway 164 to the north of
The current stretch of Highway 164 between I-94 and Capitol Drive will be
renamed Highway F at the request of Waukesha County, Barnes said.
The project is necessary because the crash rate is more than double the
statewide rate for comparable roads, Barnes said. Traffic volumes have increased
and contributed to the crashes. The current average daily traffic volume of that
section of Highway J is 18,000 vehicles and is anticipated to grow to
22,000 vehicles by 2025, he said.
The federal government will pay for 80% of the project, and the remaining 20%
will be paid by the state and county governments.
The second phase of the road-widening project, scheduled to be done in 2005, is
from Swan Road north to just south of Highway VV in the Town of Lisbon.
The third and final phase of the Highway 164 project in Waukesha County
is scheduled for 2006. The Highway VV and Highway 164 intersection will
be reconstructed along with Highway 164 north to Howard Lane.
Traffic counts significantly drop off at Howard Lane, so any further widening of
Highway 164 would not take place for at least 10 years, Barnes said. Any
change in the construction schedule would depend on traffic counts, he added.
Expansion of the highway in Washington County will be scheduled when traffic
patterns warrant, something the DOT projects would occur in 2025 or later.
The new four-lane road will provide an increased capacity for traffic, which
should reduce congestion, Barnes has said. The 30-foot wide medians, 12-foot
driving lanes and turn lanes should reduce chances of vehicles crossing into
oncoming traffic. Controlled access points and the construction of a frontage
road will improve safety and traffic flow and provide access to business along
Highway J .
Contractor Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls will install new
traffic signals and turn lanes at the intersections of Highway J with S.
Riverwood Drive, Ridgeview Parkway West and Green Road.
Also part of the project is the installation of a new traffic signal at the
existing Highway 164 intersection with Ridgeview Parkway East.
Traffic lanes along Highway J will remain open during the construction,
but detours will be available at Watertown Road.
City of Pewaukee Police Chief Gary Bach said the department has been involved in
the construction plans. The department plans to continually watch the traffic
and the progress and address problems as they arise, he said.
"It's going to be overwhelming," Bach said. "We're in for a long spring and
Group tries to stop highway project - Sierra Club cites wetlands destruction
in bid to derail widening
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Author: DAVE SHEELEY, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
The Sierra Club is attempting to halt the expansion of Highway 164 in
Waukesha County next year by asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a
permit needed for the project.
"We want to make Highway 164 safer, not wider," said Brett Hulsey, senior
Midwest representative of the Sierra Club in Madison.
The state Department of Transportation has asked the corps for a permit to fill
about nine acres of wetlands to expand the highway from two lanes to four from
Swan Road, in the City of Pewaukee, to just south of Highway VV in Sussex. The
project will cost about $12.5 million.
Dale Pfeiffle, an environmental protection specialist with the corps, said his
agency will evaluate the Sierra Club's request that the permit, which Hulsey
says is to destroy wetlands, be rejected. The club submitted the request last
In addition to the club's input, the corps has received about 40 comments from
residents, groups such as the Highway J Citizens Group and others. Almost
all oppose giving the state the corps' permit, Pfeiffle said.
The Sierra Club also asked the corps to conduct a public hearing on the
Department of Transportation's permit request before ruling.
Filling the wetland, a type of land disappearing in southeastern Wisconsin,
would cause flooding problems, water pollution and destroy habitat for animals,
the Sierra Club says in its 10-page request.
For more than two years, the club has been critical of the Highway 164
expansion, saying it isn't needed and will cause additional traffic and
pollution. In 2002, the club called the widening one of the worst transportation
projects in the nation.
Transportation department officials, however, have said other alternatives to
widening Highway 164 were explored and wouldn't relieve increasing
traffic on the road.
The agency plans to replace the wetlands with new ones elsewhere in the state.
And, as part of the project, the state agency plans to build storm water
detention ponds and habitat for threatened species, such as the Butler's garter
The Transportation Department is asking for Corps of Engineers permission to use
nearly 86,000 cubic yards of fill near tributaries to Pewaukee Lake and Sussex
Creek. That would allow widening the highway from Swan Road to just south of
Highway VV -- the second of three phases of the highway's entire widening
project scheduled for completion in 2006.
The first phase, with a price tag of about $9.5 million, is under way. The
expansion of Highway J from Rockwood Drive, just north of I-94, to Swan
Road is scheduled to be competed by November, said Bruce Barnes, a DOT project
The estimated $5.5 million third phase involves reconstruction of the Highway VV
and Highway 164 intersection, along with improvements to the highway
north to Howard Lane in Lisbon.
Hulsey said the Transportation Department has not considered practical
alternatives to the Highway 164 project, such as using the four-lane
Highway 74 about a mile east.
But Brian Bliesner, a DOT project supervisor, said developing that alternative
route would destroy more wetland than the Highway 164 project.
He said land around the corridor is developing, causing an increase in traffic
and a need for a wider, safer road.
"Waukesha County is developing and has been developing for the last 20 years.
The traffic is going to be there whether we widen the road or not," Bliesner
December 2004: CTH J from I-94 thru to Capitol Drive renamed SR 164. Former
SR 164 from Interstate I-94 to Capitol Drive now becomes CTH F.
April 2005: Widening construction begins on SR 164 from Capitol Drive, north
to Prospect Court (just south of M&I bank in Sussex).
In 2006, the highway is scheduled to be expanded from Prospect Court to
Howard Lane in the Town of Lisbon.