TOWN OF BROOKFIELD – While much of the outlook has been about celebration and culmination, there’s more to The Corners.
The 750,000-square-foot mixed-use lifestyle center featuring shopping, dining, luxury apartments and more has been touted by officials as having potential positive impacts both inside the development and in the surrounding area.
On the other hand, a number of residents have expressed concerns over the additional vehicles and commuters the development will bring.
Town of Brookfield Administrator Tom Hagie served as the town’s engineer through its consultant, Strand Associates, throughout the development of plans for The Corners.
“The developer is required to do a traffic impact analysis, which they also submitted to the DOT for review and approval and was also verified by the engineering company that the town consults with,” Hagie said. “So the DOT signed off on it and the town was okay with it.”
Hagie said Corners officials kept an eye on traffic during the grand opening Saturday, April 8.
“They did monitor the situation closely to see how things were going," Hagie said. "From things that I heard, they were able to keep cars moving in without any backup onto Bluemound Road.”
Corners officials reported that by 10:45 a.m. 1,333 cars had already arrived and parked at The Corners and by 6 p.m. the center had welcomed over 10,000 visitors in total.
“We were pleased with (the April 8) traffic management, especially considering this was likely one of our largest events with concentrated traffic within a short period of time,” The Corners General Manager Dave Olson said.
It's been almost two years since ground broke on The Corners lifestyle center in the town of Brookfield. Now, retail and restaurants are set to open this weekend. Take a look at the transformation of the project. CT Kruger/Now Media Group
Both Olson and Hagie pointed to $14.1 million worth of improvements completed on Bluemound Road during a 2012 Wisconsin Department of Transportation project as having helped prepare the area for the large development.
“As the project has been planned for some time, the town and state were able to incorporate it into the latest road designs and construction over the past few years,” Olson said.
The Corners’ traffic impact study was conducted by Cedarburg-based Traffic Analysis & Design, Inc. in 2011 — a year ahead of the DOT improvements.
The study anticipated an increase of 680 new trips during an average weekday morning peak hour; 1,155 new trips were expected during the weekday evening peak hour and 1,465 were anticipated during a typical Saturday midday peak hour. On an average weekday, The Corners was projected to generate an increase of 13,190 new trips throughout the day.
DOT Southeast Region Communications Manager Michael Pyritz deferred to the traffic impact study and town of Brookfield officials when contacted on the subject, but expressed confidence that the infrastructure is ready to handle the changes.
“There’s been development all up and down that corridor. It’s not just that one spot,” Pyritz said. “It was clearly designed to handle high volumes of traffic.”
Pyritz said the DOT does not have a recent traffic count number for the intersection of Bluemound and Barker roads — the nearest major crossing to The Corners — but a 2015 figure from the intersection of Bluemound and Brookfield roads approximately one mile east saw 34,000 vehicles on an average weekday.
The 2012 Bluemound Road project included a complete repaving of over three miles of the state highway between Moorland Road in the city of Brookfield and Barker Road in the town of Brookfield and saw the addition of turn lanes and a widening of the road.
“I think all of those (improvements) that were put in will be suitable to accommodate the development,” Hagie said.