The Brookfield Common Council moved to table a measure that would offer vocal opposition to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation plans for the Zoo Interchange project.
Voting to table means delaying a unified opposition to DOT plans that could encroach on Brookfield's ability to develop 124th Street as a thoroughfare. West Allis has already sent the DOT its objections.
Concerns were raised at the committee level that this was a superfluous vote given that some on the committee - also alderman - would never support any restructuring of the 124th coordinator.
Rick Owen, chair of the Public Works Committee, reminded the council that this was not a proxy vote on a road plan, but rather an opportunity to get the city's options open.
"No one was deciding if the plans would be implemented," Owens said Tuesday night.
"This is probably going to be debated sometime in the distant future."
Plans for the Zoo Interchange involve retention ponds and perhaps some bridge work that could interfere with plans for 124th Street. On the other hand, Mike Pyritz, a spokesman with the DOT, said the plans are preliminary and that the state is aware of the objections being raised by West Allis and Brookfield.
"Certainly with the preliminary stages of the design, (the DOT) are mindful of working with all of the municipalities," Pyritz said, "to make sure that they build an interchange to accommodate future plans and needs."
Some city officials are dubious of how deep an effect an official letter of opposition would have, but Pyritz insists that the DOT will work with the municipalities involved to work out a mutually beneficial design.
Wauwatosa, Elm Grove and even some Milwaukee County right-of-way could be affected, bringing plenty of seats to the design table.
The expansion of 124th Street is part of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission's Regional Transportation Plan. The DOT does have representative on the SEWRPC board and has been a part of the creation of those plans.
In other words, failing to live up to the SEWRPC layout would actually be working against a project the DOT had a hand in creating. It's an incongruence Brookfield officials are hoping to drive home.
Luckily, the construction is at least three years away while some of the work on Highway 100 and Wisconsin Avenue could start in the next two years.
For Brookfield, that means tabling this issue until August, when the next Common Council meeting is scheduled, doesn't put the city any further behind.
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