VISION 2050 recommends a multimodal freight transportation system designed to provide for the efficient and safe movement of materials and goods to, from, and within Southeastern Wisconsin, which is essential for maintaining and growing Southeastern Wisconsin’s manufacturers and economy. In 2018, nearly 144 million tons of domestic and international cargo valued at more than $202 billion were shipped to, from, and within the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha Combined Statistical Area.
Pursue development of a new truck-rail intermodal facility in or near Southeastern Wisconsin
Currently, the truck-rail intermodal facilities—where freight shipments are interchanged between trucks and freight trains—closest to Southeastern Wisconsin are located in the Chicago area, where intermodal shipments sometimes experience significant congestion-related delays. To increase efficiency and lower shipping costs for the Region’s businesses, the construction and operation of a new truck-rail intermodal facility in or near Southeastern Wisconsin should be pursued.
Accommodate oversize/overweight (OSOW) shipments to, from, and within Southeastern Wisconsin
The accommodation of oversize/overweight (OSOW) truck shipments on the Region’s arterial street and highway network should be improved to allow high-value goods—including exports of locally manufactured products to other countries—to be efficiently shipped to and from the Region. Unusually large or heavy goods shipped within or through the Region require that specific OSOW truck routes be used, and, depending on the size of the shipment, may require the relocation of overhead poles and wires in certain circumstances.
State and local governments should work with Commission staff and local manufacturers, shippers, and utilities to improve the accommodation of OSOW shipments on the Region’s arterial network. Specific recommended actions include analyzing past OSOW truck shipments in the Region, maintaining a regional OSOW truck route network, and determining the infrastructure changes that need to be made (such as improving roadway curvature, reconstructing bridges with low clearance, or modifying roadway medians or low-hanging utility wires) to improve these routes for OSOW shipments.
Construct the Muskego Yard bypass
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) freight trains traveling through downtown Milwaukee currently pass through the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (MIS). MIS is a stop for Amtrak’s Hiawatha and Empire Builder intercity passenger trains. It would also be a stop for commuter rail service under VISION 2050 and for expanded intercity passenger rail service under the State’s long-range rail plan.
Upgrading track and signaling through CP’s Muskego Yard, which passes through the Menomonee Valley south of MIS, would allow freight trains to bypass the station and Downtown Milwaukee. The City and County of Milwaukee, the Commission, and the State should work with CP to construct the Muskego Yard bypass, which would improve safety, reduce delays to freight trains traveling through Milwaukee, and accommodate additional commuter rail and intercity passenger rail service.
Accommodate truck traffic on the regional highway freight network
Freight shipments in Southeastern Wisconsin—including shipments involving ships, airplanes, and trains—rely heavily on trucks using the Region’s arterial street and highway system. In particular, the movement of freight depends in large part on trucks using the regional highway freight network—arterials in the Region intended to carry a higher percentage of truck traffic. It is important to implement the capacity expansion improvements included in the arterial streets and highways element of VISION 2050 to address higher levels of congestion and the presence of bottlenecks on the regional highway freight network.