I-94 East-West Corridor Study - Environmental documents

Release Date: April 15, 2021

WisDOT to expand review of I-94 East/West project​​​

Supplemental environmental impact statement will allow more study, public input

View News Release​ - New!

Where are we now?

  • ​In September 2016, the Federal Highway Administration signed a Record of Decision for the I-94 East-West Corridor Study.​
  • In October of 2017, the ROD was rescinded due to a lack of available funding.
  • In July 2020, Governor Evers announced the renewed focus on the project.
  • The project is being re-evaluated with the goal being to modernize the stretch of I-94 between 16th and 70th Streets.
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation Southeast Region staff are in the early phases of planning.
  • Currently, the environmental documents are being re-evaluated and will be updated as we work towards a new Record of Decision.
  • In April 2021, WisDOT announced it will expand its review of the project by conducting a supplemental environmental impact statement to allow more study and public input. 
  • Having a safer and more efficient roadway connecting the Zoo Interchange and the Marquette Interchange will prove to be a benefit to the City, County and the State of Wisconsin.
  • WisDOT is committed to a robust and transparent public process.

Notice of Final Environmental Impact Statement I-94 East-West Corridor,
(70th Street to 16th Street, Milwaukee County)

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the I-94 East-West Corridor located in Milwaukee County. The Final EIS describes the preferred alternative and reasons for its identification. It also reports the results of the December 4 and 5, 2014, public hearing and public and agency comments on the Draft EIS.

These documents are very large and may take several minutes to download:

View final EIS

View supplementary materials

View preferred alternative

The preferred alternative including off-interstate improvements is illustrated in Exhibit 2-9 in the Final EIS. The preferred alternative, described in detail in Section 2 of the Final EIS, has the following elements:

  • A modernized freeway with safety improvements including right-hand entrances and exits and an additional lane in each direction.
  • Rebuilt interchanges at 68th Street/70th Street, a half interchange at Hawley Road, a reconfigured Stadium Interchange and rebuilt interchanges at 35th Street and 26th Street/28th Street/St. Paul Avenue. The Mitchell Boulevard exit and entrance will be eliminated. A new local exit at 44th Street will be part of the redesigned Stadium Interchange.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for the I-94 East-West Corridor study. Environmental documentation is required by national and Wisconsin environmental policy acts for projects with potentially significant social, economic, natural resource and other impacts. WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are the lead agencies for the EIS, which was prepared in accordance with FHWA guidelines.

Draft EIS

The Draft EIS documents the need for proposed improvements, the alternatives considered to address the identified needs, and then present and discuss the impacts resulting from the reasonable range of alternatives being considered. A discussion of potential mitigation concepts and a summary of the coordination conducted with the public, interested stakeholders, and review agencies is included the Coordination Plan (CP).

Webpage links in documents may no longer work.

The following two documents are very large and may take several minutes to download:

Understand WisDOT's structured approach to analyzing impacts of the proposed transportation project and its alternatives by viewing the Impact Analysis Methodology (IAM).

The Draft EIS does not identify a preferred alternative. Following the public hearing and the end of the public comment period, WisDOT and FHWA identified a preferred alternative for presentation in the Final EIS.

Historic Preservation (Section 106)

Programmatic Agreement

  • A Programmatic Agreement is a document that spells out the terms of a formal, legally binding agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and other state and federal agencies. The programmatic agreement establishes a process for consultation, review, and compliance with federal laws, specifically those federal laws concerning historic preservation.
  • This draft Programmatic Agreement is under review by the consulting parties and is expected to be approved in mid-2016. If you have comments on this draft Programmatic Agreement please contact Dobra Payant, WisDOT at Dobra.Payant@dot.wi.gov

National Historic Landmarks adjacent to I-94

  • National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated as such by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. For more information on National Historic Landmarks visit the National Park Service website.

Northwest Branch National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers/Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark

  • The I-94 East-West study area is adjacent to several significant historic buildings and properties. Most notable is the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark. The site’s formal name is the Northwest Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and it covers most of the Department of Veterans Affairs campus just west of Miller Park, including Wood National Cemetery, which is bisected by I-94.
  • The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, as it was originally called, was established by Congress in 1865 as part of a system of National Soldiers’ Homes to provide care for soldiers who had been disabled through loss of limb, wounds, disease, or injury during service. The Milwaukee Soldiers’ Home campus was one of the first three nationally designated campuses. It is the only one of the three original sites with its Soldiers’ Home intact, and it is also the only one with the majority of its surrounding recuperative village remaining.
  • The Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark houses 25 post-Civil War and turn-of-the-20th-century buildings, as well as the oldest portion of Wood National Cemetery. The most historically significant and architecturally dominant building is the Soldiers’ Home (Building 2 or “Old Main”). Designed by Milwaukee architect Edward Townsend Mix, it was a domiciliary with long rooms, common foyers, and sitting rooms. The building was used for veteran housing until the 1970s, but the basic interior design remains as it was in 1869.

Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark

  • The Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark is located within the boundaries of the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark. The geological feature was discovered in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was recognized that the feature was the remains of 400-million-year-old fossil reefs, making them the first ancient reefs discovered in North America and among the first described anywhere in the world. Soldiers’ Home Reef is a steep, rocky hill mostly covered in vegetation.
Places adjacent to I-94 eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places

  • The National Register of Historic Places is America’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. There are three places adjacent to the I-94 study area that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: Story Hill neighborhood, Calvary Cemetery and Paradise Theater.
  • The Spring Hill Cemetery and Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery were evaluated to determine if they are eligible for the National Register. It was determined that neither of these two cemeteries were eligible. View exhibit 3-35 showing location of significant historic properties.
  • Story Hill Neighborhood
    • The Story Hill neighborhood is located on the north side of I-94, just west of WIS 175. It was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because the style of homes and the period in which they were built represent examples of notable architectural styles built by well-regarded Milwaukee architects and builders. The neighborhood is divided into two different historic districts, one north of Bluemound Road and one south.
  • Calvary Cemetery
    • Calvary Cemetery was also determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery’s entrance is on Bluemound Road, and its southern boundary is a couple hundred feet north of I-94. Calvary Cemetery is eligible for the National Register because of the architecture of some of its buildings and mausoleums, and several notable Milwaukeeans are buried there, including Solomon Juneau.
  • Paradise Theater
    • The Paradise Theater is located on a triangular lot formed by Greenfield and National avenues at the intersection with 62nd Street. Improvements at this intersection will not require any property acquisition. Improvements to Greenfield Avenue will include changes to the signal timing, restriping to create a dedicated left‐turn lane and a combined through and right‐turn lane in each direction, and the elimination of 70 feet of parking on the westbound lane. Improvements to National Avenue also include signal timing, restriping to create a dedicated right‐turn lane, and the elimination of 100 feet of parking on the southbound lane. These improvements intend to decrease the current backup on the left turn onto 62nd Street.

Laws in place to protect historic buildings and properties

  • The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. For the I-94 East-West Corridor Study project, the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with WisDOT, is undertaking the reconstruction of I-94 between 16th Street and 70th Street.
  • The National Historic Preservation Act also guides how the Federal Highway Administration provides opportunities for state and federal agencies, interested parties, and the public to comment on the planned reconstruction of I-94. The following parties are involved in commenting on the project:
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because it is the owner of the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark and the Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark
    • The National Park Service because it ha​s jurisdiction over National Historic Landmarks
    • The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    • At the state level, the State Historic Preservation Office, part of the Wisconsin Historical Society
    • Indian tribes
    • Several federal agencies
    • The City of Milwaukee, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance have asked to be consulting parties
    • WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are also soliciting input from veterans groups
  • The Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT have set up regular meetings with these groups and agencies.

How Will Reconstructing I-94 Affect Historic Buildings and Properties?

  • ​No land would be acquired from any of the historic properties along I-94. About 0.20 acre of land would be required from the Soldier’s Home NHL near the Miller Park Way/National Avenue intersection as part of the off interstate improvements. This land is required in order to provide a right-turn lane to the VA Campus from National Avenue. Additionally no graves will be displaced from the Wood National Cemetery, Spring Hill Cemetery, Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery or Calvary Cemetery. However, some of the alternatives under consideration could have an Adverse Effect (visual) on identified historic properties.
  • Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT in consultation with the Section 106 consulting parties have determined whether the planned I-94 East-West corridor project would have an Adverse Effect on those resources. These determinations are outlined in the Revised Federal Highway Administration Assessment of Adverse Effects for the I-94 East-West Corridor Project memorandum. View addendum adverse effects
  • Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT will continue working with the consulting parties to identify appropriate mitigation measures.