A week after the closing of North Avenue at 90th Street, another detour is in store for drivers in Wauwatosa, this one in the heart of the busy Village district. Fortunately, it isn't too long a detour in distance or duration.
State Street from Wauwatosa Avenue to Harmonee Avenue will be closed as of 7 a.m. Monday and will remain shut off to through traffic for about two weeks.
Traffic from the east will be routed north on Wauwatosa and back down Harmonee, and opposite for traffic from the west. All Village businesses will remain accessible throughout the closing.
The closure is for improvements to the pedestrian crossing at Harwood Avenue.
"The adopted Village Plan called for improvements throughout the area," said Public Works Director Bill Porter, "and this was identified as the No. 1 priority.
"Obviously, with all that's going on, we're not going to shut down all of State Street right now. We broke this out and awarded a contract."
The project involves widening the street to accommodate traffic safety islands as well as improving the overall appearance of the crossing with new pavement, landscaping and other amenities.
"Along with the islands, we'll be grinding and resurfacing the street," Porter said. "Some of the existing installations, like some brick paver areas that have deteriorated, will be refurbished or replaced with landscaping, including some trees.
"There will be landscaping beds on the islands as well, with low fencing not only to protect it from foot traffic but also to direct people to the designated crossings. That's a very busy crossing."
Porter added that the Village Improvement District will take responsibilty for maintaining landscaping beginning in the spring.
Porter said that the pedestrian crossing signs currently placed in the middle of the street will either be permanently installed on the islands or set in sockets, making them removable – and more easily replaceable – if necessary.
"That's certainly better than someone having to put them out there and take them back in every day," Porter said, "so that's an improvement."
Porter said the work, as always, will be dependent on the weather, which has tended toward rainy of late, but he hoped the work would be complete within two weeks if not less.
"Get in and get out is the idea," Porter said.
Anyone with questions is invited to contact the city’s project engineer, Robert Kelly, at 414-479-8928.