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The Marquette Interchange Project was the first Green Highway project to be constructed. The primary goal of the project is the capture and treatment of stormwater runoff from the highway before its discharge into the combined sewer system or into the Menomonee River. Runoff from highways carries a variety of pollutants including heavy metals, motor oils and fluids, suspended solids, and salts. A variety of green infrastructure practices were developed and installed to remove these pollutants before they enter the waterway or sewer system. Green infrastructure captures, absorbs, or stores rain and melting snow.
The Marquette Interchange project site presented unique design challenges. The interchange is the 2nd largest interchange in Wisconsin with 16 acres of open land under its bridge decks. This open land had limited sunlight, legacy pollutants, heavy salt accumulation in the soil from the runoff, and had to be designed to accommodate interchange infrastructure.
The final design included three bioretention basins, a permeable maintenance path, rock-lined channels, a permeable paver plaza, and 4-acres of native landscaping. Innovative pre-treatment devices were also designed and installed. The innovative pre-treatment devices help capture and reduce pollutants in the stormwater runoff before it is released into the sewer system or nearby waterways.
Click the arrow on the top left-hand side to view the map legend.
Completed bioswales employing native plants to capture and filter highway runoff
Construction of bioswales
Planting native vegetation
Menomonee Valley Partner’s Takeout and Tunes event during Valley Week
Event attendees exploring new trails as part of Takeout and Tunes
As part of the engineering design phase of the project for stormwater capture and treatment, the community also identified other desired amenities that were incorporated into the master plan for the site. Since these additional amenities are not fundable through the MMSD’s Green Solutions funding, local stakeholders will take the lead for the next phase of the master plan.
Also, during the project engineering design phase, community agencies found housing for 93 individuals living unsheltered at the project site. Crime and litter were problems at the site; the completed project encourages new community uses for the site.
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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.
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.