Waukesha West Bypass project remains controversial as construction continues

Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 19:28:49-04

WAUKESHA -- The Waukesha West Bypass project continues to connect I-94 and Highway 59 -- but the controversy over expanding the two-lane road to four lanes remains. 

The idea for the project came about in the 70's, though it didn't have a consensus -- so the idea was dropped. However, in 2010, the county brought the idea back up and it should be completed by 2019. 

In 2017, Meadowbrook Road was expanded to four lanes from I-94 to Northview Road. The next phase of the project will continue that work from Northview to Summit Avenue. They expect to wrap things up around August.

The next phase of construction is arguably the biggest part of the project. Meadowbrook Road turns into Merrill Hills Road which is a twisty, two-lane road with heavy traffic. It runs very close to some developments and other homes and will impact several residents.

Bob Johnson says the project is supposed to go right through his backyard. But this isn't any backyard. It's 170 acres of farmland his father purchased in 1932. 

"I'm not happy about it," Johnson said. "Of course not."

"I'm not any different than anybody else," Johnson continued. "Not in my backyard and I really did get it in my backyard."

Wisconsin DOT says there isn't an exact map of where Merrill Hills Road will go during the project because there have been some adjustments but construction is supposed to start later this year.

However, Johnson says the road will cut away from Kame Terrace and through his farmland. He says he sold nine acres of farmland so the road could be built. He says it will be a few hundred feet away from his home.

"I got a pretty nice view here," Johnson said. "But that's going to change. There's no sense in crying about it. You're not going to do anything about it. We tried. We did all we could, I felt, so that's the way it stands."

Johnson isn't completely against the bypass though. He says the traffic is unbearable in front of his home. Semis and cars whiz by all morning long. So he knows the bypass is a necessity but he wishes it was done differently.

"This road, especially in front of my house, there wasn't any room for it," Johnson said. "I think they would have been better off if they took my house and the farmhouse and a couple more houses and stayed up here. But they chose not to do that."

The entire project is expected to wrap up in 2019.