Marquette Interchange Green Infrastructure Project

Posted By: Anna Suderland Awards,

2022 Engineering Excellence State Finalist

Entering Firm: Strand Associates Inc.
Client: Milwaukee Metropolitan
Sewerage District
Owner: City of Milwaukee

The Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee is the second largest interchange in Wisconsin. Underneath is the interchange is 16 acres of unused space. The space collected untreated runoff from the interchange and pushed it into local waterways. The client looked for an environmental solution for the land.

Strand Associates saw an opportunity to make a big environmental difference. Green infrastructure is not typically installed underneath overpasses. The team had to find plants capable of surviving low sunlight and high salt runoff from the interchange. The final design features 8,600 square feet of bio-retention basins, four acres of native plants and a small path and plaza system within the area. The green area captures the first inch of rainfall and has the capacity to retain and naturally treat more than 290,000 gallons of runoff. This is processed by plants before it goes into the Menomonee River and ultimately Lake Michigan, substantially improving the natural environment.

Beyond treatment comes education. The access paths and plaza are supplemented with educational information about how the system works. This is an opportunity for local students and residents to learn more about the importance of native plants and green engineering for cleaning up the ecosystem.

The design team handled a unique challenge with an innovative, green solution that beautifies and protects an area of previously forgotten land.

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