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National Avenue construction frustrates West Allis residents

Posted at 6:37 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 19:37:04-05

The delay of West Allis' National Avenue Corridor Construction Project is becoming a never-ending nightmare for residents and local businesses.

The project is broken into three phases that is anticipated to last three years. The first phase started at the beginning of May and was supposed to be finished by November 2nd, but that date has come and gone says West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

"It's been a massive headache, it's a major project there's a lot of underground work as well as the street itself," said Devine. "The reality is that we're not overseeing the contract. We can provide input and suggestions but it's ultimately a state project." 

The roadwork is funded by a state grant and Devine says the city's hands are tied. He went to social media to reach his constituents saying, "want to remind everyone that the Governor signed this contract..because federal money was awarded for this project...the City no longer has any staff on site...[The Construction Company] are being fined $2,070 by the state DAILY for every day they pass the deadline." 

As mayor of West Allis, and a city resident, Devine says he's worried about the local businesses that are suffering because of this. Even though the streets and sidewalks on National from 70th to 76th are destroyed the shops are still open. Joe Braun, owner of Braun's Bar House, says this construction is the absolute worst.  

"It's horrible. I don't even know how all of us are staying in business. My business is down at least 50 percent right now," said Braun. 

The anticipated new end date is now Dec. 25. But the mayor isn't holding his breath, because he knows concrete can't be poured when temperatures are below 35 degrees. The city is using social media and posting signs in the work zones to highlight small businesses. Braun says that's appreciated effort but ultimately the workers need to hurry up!

"We do stuff all the time. So it's just a matter of all the obstacles you have to go through, it deters people," said Braun.