13th Street Construction Necessary, Inconvenient

Business owners impacted by the work hope it pays off in the end.

The road construction under way on 13th Street is widely thought to be needed, though that hasn't made the experience for residents and business owners any more pleasant.

The project between Rawson and College avenues, led by Milwaukee-based LaLonde Contractors, includes storm sewer, electrical, box culvert, road base and concrete paving. Crews are now working on the east side of the street, with traffic reduced to one lane each way.

Work is expected to wrap up by mid-summer.

Business owners hope the improvements are worth the hassle. Linda Swenson, , said the construction has made it difficult for customers to enter and leave the restaurant's parking lot, and she wishes she had more business from construction workers.

"It definitely affects us," she said. 

Jason Hager, director of operations for Wisco Hotels' Milwaukee Region, said he welcomes the construction.

Wisco Hotels owns four hotels on 13th Street, three of which - Fairfield Inn & Suites, Candlewood Inn, and Comfort Suites - are in Oak Creek.

Hager admits that the construction, coupled with the economic downturn, hasn't necessarily been good for business, but he says it's a necessary inconvenience.

Wisco Hotels see a lot of good ideas implemented in the construction project and are happy with how the project managers at LaLonde have kept them abreast of any developments, Hager said.

What about the rest of the street?

South of Rawson Avenue, residents continue to wait for improvements to be made.

Alderman Dan Jakubczyk said he is frustrated over a lack of progress. Since 13th Street is a Milwaukee County road, the city can't do anything except, like any Oak Creek resident, put pressure on county officials. 

"I've gone around and around" with the county on this issue, Jakubczyk said. (County Supervisor Paul Cesarz, who represents the area, did not respond to a request for comment)

Jakubczyk said he's concerned about people coming into the area and then leaving "with a bad taste in their mouth" after traveling 13th Street south of Rawson. 

"Go for a ride on 13th Street south of Rawson," he said. "See it for yourself. It's bad."

Mark B May 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM
South of Rawson on 13thst is like driving on a cowpath. However, with the planning of a new freeway access on Drexel, it probably makes sense to leave it until that construction starts.
Greg in OC May 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM
Not suprised about Cesarz. I contacted him twice, one email and one voice mail and he never returned either. This is the type of disregard for constituants they can cost a job.
rick May 25, 2011 at 01:56 PM
I've been saying that for years.
Resident of O.C. Paul May 25, 2011 at 05:24 PM
If Mister Cesarz treats his constituents (the people that he represents) in this manner he better not even consider running for reelection, because right now after reading this article I won't be voting for him. And now for Milwaukee County....13th Street south of Rawson Ave. is terrible, and is in dire need of repair. Get your heads out of your butts and do what is needed. Repairing this County Highway is a more sensible use for County Sales Tax Dollars than a new arena for Herb Kohl's Milwaukee Bucks Basketball team; if Herb Kohl wants a new arena for his precious Bucks then he can foot the bill for it, after all he can afford it. Why is it that the rich people always have their hand out looking for freebies, or for other people to foot the bill for everything they want, they have the cash so spend it. I pay taxes, and that money should be used for public projects that benefit the general population, not some building that would only benefit the few that go to see the Bucks.
Dirk July 20, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Don't forget the concrete railroad known as Layton Avenue between Howell and Pennsylvania. Long overdue. With all of the tax revenue from the area trucking firms, which obviously have expedited this road decay, the money is there.
Tedd Nardelli October 02, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I'd rather drive on the railroad tracks to the east than 13th St between Rawson and Drexel.


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