inside of a culvert at Wisconsin State Fair

State Fair Culvert Rehabilitation

Project Overview

Beginning in late fall 2023 and continuing through 2027, The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) will be rehabilitating existing culverts located beneath State Fair Park.

The culverts were installed in the 1960s, to carry Honey Creek beneath State Fair. These culverts have started to show signs of wear and need repair.

The culverts run under the Expo Center, the Milwaukee Mile, and the parking lot.  There are four side by side culverts that are 9 and half feet tall and 14 feet wide.  The culverts carry Honey Creek and have increased water volume in the culverts when it rains.

The rehabilitation work will be divided into two phases. 

  • Phase One will include the middle section of the track and the parking lot since these areas needed the repairs first. 
  • Phase Two will include repairs and lining of the remaining culverts within State Fair Park and will begin after the completion of the Phase One work. 

MMSD has coordinated with State Fair Park officials so that the public and State Fair Events will not be impacted by the rehabilitation work. Additionally, MMSD does not anticipate any impacts upstream or downstream of the work during or after construction.  It is likely that you will not even notice we are there.

For the Phase One work, the MMSD contractor will be making minor repairs and lining the culverts during the fall, winter, and spring starting in 2023.  The work needs to be done during times of lower water flow because the liner needs to be sprayed to the metal when it is completely dry.  Lining material will be heated during cold weather before it is applied to provide proper adhesion to the existing metal.  The liner was selected as the best method for rehabilitating the culverts because it does not impact the flow of the culverts and it does not require the culverts to be fully excavated in order to extend the life of the culverts.

The Phase One work is anticipated to take 4 years to complete. The culverts need to be dry and will need several layers of liner sprayed all the way around the pipe. The culverts are very large and very long. Two pipe segments are anticipated to be completed each year between October and June. Mother nature will play a key role in how quickly the work can be completed.

map of state fair culverts

Project Goals

  • Extend the life of the culverts.

Phase One Timeline

  • Design: 2021-2023
  • Rehabilitation: 2023-2027  

Get Involved/Stay Informed

historical photo of culverts below Wisconsin State fair

Historical photo of the installation of the culverts in the 1960s. The rehabilitation work will happen underground. You will only see some equipment above ground.

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