Connecting Bay View (Lakeview parkway) to Downtown Milwaukee (794) is the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge. The bridge is named after Milwaukee’s second longest serving mayor. Construction of the bridge began in 1970 but it did not open to the public until 1977 because of public disapproval of the Milwaukee freeway system. The bridge made a cameo appearance in the Blues Brothers movie. The scene is pretty gosh darn nail biting if you ask me…
For those of you who were in the Milwaukee area during December of 2000, you may remember a portion of the bridge buckling and sagging. After about a year and 16 million dollars, the damaged portion was replaced and the whole bridge was spruced up a bit. Despite the fact that the bridge seems to be in good shape these days, I still find myself fearing its possible collapse every time I attend a Summerfest concert at either the Miller Oasis or Big Backyard stages. Call me paranoid, but that thing would hurt if it fell on your head.
More recently, bridge has made headlines again. Sometime in the next five years major repairs will need to be made to the bridge in order to ensure its safety. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) want to tear the bridge down, and build a street level boulevard to connect downtown and the south shore. Others, including County Supervisors Pat Jursik, Chris Larson, and Marina Dimitrijevic, along with State Rep. Chris Sinicki, have formed the Coalition to Save the Hoan in order to bring attention to saving this Milwaukee landmark. Studies are still being conducted as to which option would be most beneficial (cost wise) for Milwaukee residents.
A decision does not need to be made about the bridges future until 2012, so keep an eye out for this debate to heat up in the next couple years.