I-794 – Lakefront Gateway

Wisconsin Department of Transportation | Milwaukee, WI
In a dual effort between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the City of Milwaukee, this massive reconstruction, realignment and extension project aimed to create a modern, signature gateway connecting Milwaukee’s lakefront and several downtown areas.Benesch oversaw the construction of this high-profile project which included major structural elements throughout, such as new bridge units and MSE/EPS retaining walls, as well as final aesthetical elements, including new high mast lighting, streetscaping, signage and paved walkways.

Significant coordination was required, from traffic control during the project’s staged construction to providing access to multiple nearby businesses. In addition, Benesch needed to coordinate around Milwaukee’s Summerfest, which attracted more than 750,000 visitors and was located at the adjacent festival grounds along the lake during construction.

Biofiltration basins were utilized to capture runoff from the roadway and allow the water to filter through a layered soil and aggregate system before entering the storm sewer system that drains into Lake Michigan. These basins were strategically placed throughout the project to capture runoff from the newly constructed roadways and the existing overhead bridges of IH-794.

The team also worked with the City and the designer of the upcoming Milwaukee Streetcar Project to incorporate planned features into the Lakefront Gateway project, which minimized the amount of new pavement to be removed when construction for the streetcar project began.


  • 2018, State Finalist Award, American Council of Engineering Companies - Wisconsin
  • 2017, Transportation Construction Award, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association