By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 01, 2008 at 3:32 PM

The Marquette Interchange project will be completed early and under budget, said Gov. Jim Doyle in a statement released today.

This is great news for the 300,000 or vehicles that use the interchange every day.

"The Marquette Interchange project is the largest transportation construction project in state history and we are getting it done early and under budget," Governor Doyle said in the statement. "The city of Milwaukee is the center for culture and commerce in Wisconsin, and this key piece of infrastructure is an important addition to a thriving downtown."

The project was slated for completion toward the end of 2008 at a cost of $810 million. But now an August completion date is expected. No final project cost was included in the statement.

"It will be some time until they have a figure for how much under it will be," said Lee Sensenbrenner, a spokesman for the governor.

The statement boasts that the state Department of Transportation, "has achieved or exceeded numerous project goals, including:

  • Continued movement of traffic during construction, keeping two through lanes open in all directions during peak periods.
  • Reconstructing an interchange that fit into the community with many artistic, historic and cultural features literally built into the project.
  • Continued focus on minority contracting and labor participation, committing more than $120 million to women and minority-owned consultants and contractors and hiring 1,000 minority workers to fill about 21 percent of all work hours on the project."

According to Sensenbrenner, the project was originally expected to be finished in December, but that date was moved up to November around the time work on the project had begun.

"The DOT is to be congratulated on the quality and timely completion of the project," said David Fantle,
vice president, public relations for VISIT Milwaukee.

"Downtown never closed for business and the aggressive collaborative communications efforts undertaken to get that message across for the most part worked. The easier in and out access to Downtown that will be afforded drivers with the completed project should make downtown an even more desirable destination to work, live and play."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.