Negotiations that could clear the way for a new Drexel Avenue freeway interchange on Interstate 94 are continuing between the cities of Oak Creek and Franklin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
When it built a corporate campus in Franklin, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. provided $1.6 million to the state Department of Transportation for area road improvements.
That money is now part of an evolving funding plan to build an interchange at Drexel Avenue and I-94 in Oak Creek. The cost of the interchange is estimated at $12.8 million.
“Northwestern Mutual did not commit to any new funds to support this project—the funds were provided through an agreement the company made with the DOT when it initially built a campus in Franklin several years ago,” Northwestern Mutual spokeswoman Jean Towell said. “This initiative should not be connected to any other current transit projects under consideration.”
The funding plan has not been finalized. However, the state has agreed to pay for half of the project and the $1.6 million in funds from Northwestern Mutual would also be used, said Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender.
This week Oak Creek officials approved plans to provide a total of $4.4 million for the area including $3.75 million to build the interchange, $500,000 for South 27th Street lighting and $150,000 for Drexel Avenue lighting and utility work. The Oak Creek funds will come from a tax incremental financing (TIF) district.
In addition to the interchange, the project also includes widening of Drexel Avenue to four lanes between South 13th Street and South 27th Street, Bolender said.
Franklin has not agreed to provide any funds for the interchange project. The city has committed to providing $500,000 for enhanced lighting in the South 27th Street corridor, said Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor.
It is unclear if the contributions of Oak Creek, Franklin and Northwestern Mutual are adequate to cover the local share for the Drexel interchange project.
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– BizTimes Milwaukee