Menomonee River Parkway Renewal

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Menomonee River Parkway Renewal Project, logo, cracked and missing piece of pavement, cars parked on lawn, sink hole, bicyclist, volunteer path, residential area

Project Documents   |  Newsletter: Update July 29, 2015

The Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture will reconstruct 4.6 miles of parkway between Congress and Church Streets in 2015. The project presents a rare opportunity to RETHINK the function of the parkway and to RENEW its recreational significance.

Anticipated Schedule

Anticipated Project Schedule

Construction Phasing
Phase One:
   Segment One – W Congress to N Mayfair; April 6-June 1, 2015
  Segment Two N Mayfair to W Burleigh, June 1-July 31, 2015
   Segments One and Two, Approximately 2 miles

Phase Two: Burleigh to Church, Approximately 2.5 miles; July 13-completion

Phase Two Startup - Monday, July 13

Contracts have been awarded and work is about to begin on the second phase (West Burleigh southeast towards the Wauwatosa Village). The contractor selected to complete this phase of the work is Zignego Company, Inc. located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

On Monday, July 13, Zignego will be mobilizing on site to begin work on the segment of parkway between West Burleigh and West North Avenue. Construction equipment will be moving in, traffic control barricades and signage will be placed, and as weather permits, removal of the existing roadway will commence. Work will begin most days at 7 a.m. and crews may also work on Saturdays.

As always, please be mindful of safety at all times. The crews are doing their best to assure local traffic is maintained at all times so residents have access to and from their homes. But, it is a construction zone, so temporary obstacles may occur. All residents, businesses, and parkway users are asked to not park along the parkway segments that are under construction.

Work continues on Phase One. 

Work Begun on Phase One Segment Two of Parkway Reconstruction

Work on segment two of the parkway, North Mayfair Road to West Burleigh, began on schedule as work on the first segment, West Congress to North Mayfair, was substantially completed.


Remaining Tasks in Segment One

  • Completion of the new lighting with WE Energies scheduled to have them energized  in July;
  • Signage, installed by late June; and
  • Landscaping with some installation of trees and plants delayed to September to allow the plants to mature and have the best chance of survival.

Work on Segment Two (as of June 24)
Crews began work on segment two, between Mayfair and Keefe, on schedule the first week in June. After removing the old top layer of asphalt, gravel base, and old curbs and gutters, Mother Nature again provided days of heavy rain. Thanks to all the residents who patiently dealt with the muddy sub-grade that resulted and caused a temporary road closure. When the rain stopped, the County directed the contractor to stop work until the sub-grade dried out. The weather delays have put the project behind schedule although the contractor hopes to make up some of the time by continuing to work Saturdays.  
So far the contractor has:

  • Removed all existing roadway from Burleigh to Keefe;
  • Begun installing the new base course;
  • Prepared the site for the new off road multi-use path;
  • Begun work on new storm sewers;
  • Removed existing lighting.


In the coming weeks, work will continue on the above items, and installation of new curbs and gutters should begin in early July, weather permitting. Removal of the existing roadway from Keefe to Burleigh will also proceed at the end of June.


Other Work: Dye Testing Sewers
The City of Wauwatosa will be dye testing sewers to detect leaks in the system. Work is planned between Swan Boulevard and Menomonee River Parkway, from North Avenue to Center. Although the bright green dye may turn the river green, it is nontoxic, and safe for the environment. Other advance sewer work being done by the City has caused a temporary parkway closure between Swan Boulevard and North Avenue. The road will be closed to thru traffic but local access will be maintained. Please follow posted detour signs.


Reminders to Residents

Irrigation Systems
Several property owners have irrigation systems for their lawns. In some cases, the contractor has found lines and sprinkler heads that extend beyond the owner's property line onto County property.

Often, these irrigation systems are within three feet of the curb and can be damaged as heavy equipment moves through excavating and removing curbs, gutters, and roadway.

If you are one of those property owners with an irrigation system on County property within three feet of the curb, you are responsible for removing it prior to the contractor reaching the area. The same is true for invisible dog fences or other systems installed on County land. Neither the County nor the contractor are liable for any damage, repair, or replacement of any systems that encroach on County land.

Please be mindful of safety at all times. The crews are doing their best to ensure local traffic is maintained at all times so residents have access to and from their homes. But it is a construction zone, so if you eperience a temporary obstacle, please consider going around or finding another route.

Oak Leaf Trail Users
The Oak Leaf Trail, including access at Congress, remains open though on-road facilities have been detoured to Glenway Street, Mayfair Road, Keefe Avenue, and the Menomonee River Parkway on the west side of the river. Despite the detour, some pedestrians and bicyclists continue to run or bike in the construction zone on the roadway. This is extremely dangerous and could lead to accidents. Please use the detour and encourage others to do the same.

All residents, businesses, and parkway users are asked to not park along the parkway during construction. Residents are encouraged to use their driveways, and businesses and others are asked to use their parking lots or side streets.

Dog Parks
Humans and their canine companions still have access to the Dog Park and, on foot, can still enter at the parkway gate. But please, no parking along the parkway. Dog Park users should park in the Capitol Drive parking lot and use that entry gate.


Stakeholder Questions

As construction progresses, we’ve been getting a lot of interesting questions from stakeholders along the parkway. We decided to include some of the more frequently asked questions and answers in the news-update for your information.

Q. What’s up with the lighting?

A. This project includes an update to the entire electric and lighting service along the parkway including  new conduit, poles and fixtures. In most cases, all of the new infrastructure must be installed before the new lights can be energized. Segment one should be lit in July, and segment two by August.


Q. People seem to be confused about the new parking plans.  Can you explain?

A. In the residential portion of the parkway north of Capitol Drive, parking is allowed on the asphalt  roadway and the concrete ribbon on the west side of the parkway. South of Capitol, parking is allowed on the east side of the parkway, adjacent to the dog parks.  Signage is being installed that should help clarify where parking is allowed and where it is not. Under no circumstances should anyone be parking on the grass or on the vegetative mats that have begun sprouting grass. Cars may park on the concrete ribbon.  Plans illustrating where parking signs will be posted are available online at the address listed below.


Q. Can you clarify what options are planned for pedestrians and bicyclists?  

A. Bike traffic will be on the parkway from Mayfair to Congress, which is designated as an on-road segment of the Oak Leaf Trail. A ten foot wide off-road multi-use trail for bikes and pedestrians is being constructed from Mayfair to Burleigh at the same time the parkway is being rebuilt. Phase two plans include an extension of the path from Burleigh to Swan.


Concrete ribbon, bio-swale, biofiltration basin

Q. People are confused about the concrete ribbon.  Can you explain?

A. One of the primary goals of the reconstruction project is to manage storm water in a sustainable way that promotes water quality. Currently, the majority of the parkway’s storm water is directed into catch basins and pipes leading directly to the river. As part of the reconstruction, green infrastructure like rain gardens, biofiltration areas, and infiltration swales are being introduced. Each of these elements works to manage storm water, filtering out pollutants before water reaches the river. The concrete ribbon directs water to sheet across the open turf areas, is used in lieu of curb, and eliminates the need for storm pipe on that side of the road. This ribbon is not constructed to be a pedestrian walkway or bike path, although some people are using it in that way.

Project Wins MMSD Grant for Additional Green Infrastructure

Best Management Practices for Rainwater Runoff

A $227,000 grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has been awarded to Milwaukee County Parks through the MMSD Green Infrastructure Partnership Program.  The program goal is to improve storm water runoff quality as part of the parkway renewal project.  The grant will allow the County to double the amount of green infrastructure components planned for the parkway, diverting and filtering storm water into bio-filtration basins with native plants, and grass lined bio-swales before it enters the Menomonee River.

Phase One of the Menomonee River Parkway Renewal Project includes . . .

16 rain gardens
• 4 bio-filtration basins
• 51 new storm water trees
• 3,400 linear feet of roadway runoff filtration
• 80% pollutant reduction
• Anticipated $300,000 investment in green infrastructure


Traffic Calming Features

Plan Includes Traffic-Calming Components, Multi-Use Path

In public planning meetings the community desire to calm traffic, improve safety, and provide pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the parkway came through loud and clear.   The plans for the parkway renewal incorporate components that do just that.  Extended Terraces and clearly marked raised pedestrian crossings will be installed at four locations along the parkway including Park Ridge Avenue, Keefe Avenue, Concordia Avenue, and Auer Street.  The extended terraces narrow the parkway, slow traffic, and create safer pedestrian crossing points.  A ten foot wide multi-use path will be built from Mayfair Road to Swan Boulevard.  The path will be shared by pedestrians and bicycles.



Additional Questions?
Property owners will be notified of construction and plan updates. News updates will be provided electronically as needed to keep stakeholders informed of progress. The cities of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, neighborhood associations, impacted organizations and individuals and media that are already on our email list will receive updates and be asked to share the information with their networks. We aim to provide stakeholders with project information in the most timely and cost effective means possible. 

Questions may be directed to Sarah Toomsen at (414) 257-7389 or through the Contact Form 
Final Phase I (North Half) Project Plan Set
Final Phase II Project Plan Set

Plans will also be on display at the Milwaukee County Parks offices located at 9480 West Watertown Plank Road (access off Discovery Parkway).    


Watch this page for additional updates.


Menomonee River Parkway Renewal Project Documents

Final Phase I (North Half) Project Plan Set
Final Phase II Project Plan Set

Project Archive
    Update July 29, 2015
    Update June 24, 2015
    Update May 6, 2015
Update March 17, 2015
    Update Jan. 26, 2015
Project Update, Oct. 15, 2014
    Project Update from County Executive Chris Abele

Public Information Meeting #2, Feb. 12, 2014, Review of Design Concepts
    PowerPoint Presentation (as pdf)

Public Information Meeting #1, Nov. 20, 2013
    Context Map (PDF)
    Public Information Meeting #1 Handout
   Map #1: Congress Street to Burleigh Street
   Map #2: Burleigh Street to North Avenue
   Map #3: North Avenue to Church Street
   Exhibit #1: Traffic Calming Tools
   Exhibit #2: Stormwater Tools
   Exhibit #3: Stormwater Tools
   Exhibit #4: Bicycle Improvement Tools
   Exhibit #5: Pedestrian & Planting Improvement Tools






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