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Construction of the Becher St. Overpass Project has been substantially completed. Thank you to all who travel on or along Becher St. for your patience during construction. Check out the photos below to see the new green infrastructure and sidewalk that’s been constructed and installed.
The Green Highways program addresses highway stormwater runoff through innovative green infrastructure. Green infrastructure captures, absorbs, or stores rain and melting snow. The stormwater runoff is redirected from highway downspouts to an array of green infrastructure installations under overpasses.
Highway stormwater runoff carries a variety of pollutants including oils, vehicular fluids, and salts. These pollutants often drain untreated into Milwaukee’s rivers and Lake Michigan. The Becher Street Overpass Project will redirect stormwater from the I-94 Interstate to green infrastructure installations under the overpass instead of flowing directly to the Kinnickinnic River or the combined sewer system. Green infrastructure captures, absorbs, or stores rain and melting snow.
The green infrastructure installations will reduce pollutants flowing into local waters or reduce the volume in the combined sewer system. Several types of green infrastructure installations are recommended, including constructing bioswales, replacing pavement with permeable pavers, and planting native plants.
The overpass area is of high interest to the surrounding community, straddling a river-side industrial corridor and residential neighborhoods. Traffic safety is also a concern due to the concentration of city streets and the highway on and off-ramps. The green infrastructure will also help create a greater sense of place and function for the community and discourage unwanted activity under the overpass.
Other community improvements are also being considered as part of the project’s planning process. While the green infrastructure improvements will be funded by the MMSD, independent funding for additional improvements will need to be secured and led by the efforts of local stakeholders.
Current conditions at the project site.
Design concepts for the project under and along the Becher St overpass.
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Bioswales are landscape features that collect polluted stormwater runoff, soak it into the ground, and filter out pollution. Bioswales are similar to rain gardens but are designed to capture much more runoff coming from larger areas of impervious surfaces like streets and parking lots.
Porous pavement systems allow runoff to soak into the pavement surface and engineered stone layers below. The water then slowly moves down into the ground and is connected to local stormwater sewers or can be collected and stored for future use.
Native landscaping uses colorful native plants, ornamentals, or a combination of the two, to create a natural landscape that manages rainwater while beautifying your yard. Native plants have deep growing root systems that help break up the soil, allowing more water to drain into the ground.