Eight-block stretch could cut through National Avenue, they say

Waukesha Freeman
Feb 13, 2018
Hannah Weikel

West Allis —The trickle of people was less than usual at the Great Water Alliance open house at the West Allis Public Library Monday night — the first of three meetings this week, held in communities that will be impacted by the Waukesha’s Water Utility’s future water pipeline.

West Allis could see the least amount of the roughly 15.6-mile pipeline that will stretch from Milwaukee to Waukesha, carrying millions of gallons of Lake Michigan water each day. Only about eight blocks in West Allis are highlighted in the different route options that residents have been asked to weigh in on, said Katherine Richardson, a civil engineer and associate at Greeley and Hansen, a consulting firm hired to help Waukesha with the project.

A preferred pipeline route could be selected as early as this summer, Richardson said. Two separate pipelines will be laid for fresh water and the return flow of treated wastewater. A route will be selected after getting feedback from elected officials, city engineers and residents in the affected communities between Waukesha and Milwaukee.

Tim Johnson and Laurie Buss, who live on the border of West Allis and Greenfield, which will also have a piece of Waukesha’s pipeline, say additional construction would cause a headache for West Allis residents.

“People joke that Wisconsin’s seasons are winter and road construction,” Buss laughed.

One of the pipeline route options could affect a portion of National Avenue, which is about to undergo a three-phase reconstruction project beginning this spring. Buss said she uses National Avenue every day to get to work and dreads the idea of more construction for the pipeline.

Johnson, who is running for a Milwaukee County supervisor seat this spring, said he expects the pipeline will be an issue for his constituents when its construction starts in a few years. “I’ll hear, ‘Why more construction,’” he said. “But it’s a necessary project. This has to be done.”

Great Water Alliance and Waukesha Water Utility will hold an open house at Greenfield Public Library at 5310 W. Layton Ave. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Another will be held at New Berlin City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.