Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Support for Business program created?

The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works and Mayor Tom Barrett developed the Support for Business  program because of the need to think about road construction in a new and positive way. It was also developed in 2010 because the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding doubled the amount of construction projects that took place during that construction season, many of them in commercial districts. The service provided by the Support for Business program is one of the many ways the City of Milwaukee contributes to maintaining a healthy business community and providing a source of sustainable jobs for residents.

In 2010, the Support for Business program provided extensive communication to Milwaukee’s affected businesses. Communication on project development was provided through letters, emails, and the  program website. Liaisons also kept businesses abreast of construction via face-to-face meetings.   Communication during planning was increased as businesses and DPW staff collaborated to plan the most efficient execution of project components. Public communication was also enhanced as navigational signage was specifically produced for the Support for Business program participants.

In 2011, at the recommendation from a study of construction mitigation programs by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, technical assistance, and business education components were offered to the Support for Business program. These additions have made Milwaukee’s Support for Business program one of the most comprehensive and responsive construction mitigation programs in the nation.

How is the Support for Business program funded?

The City of Milwaukee's Support for Business Program is an integrated element of project development and construction for the Department of Public Works' Infrastructure Services Division.

How do I contact my community liaison?

You will have met your community liaison before the construction begins either at a meeting held for all businesses or during the door-to-door contact the liaison will conduct. You can always find contact information on the Support for Business website, www.city.milwaukee.gov/SupportforBusiness on the project summary page.

 How can I find out about business support webinars or classes?

Information will be posted on the Support for Business website and distributed to the businesses in the area via email and regular mail.

How are businesses listed on signage to make the public aware that my business is open?

A list of the affected businesses is created prior to the construction of the project. Meetings are held in advance of the construction project with those businesses to discuss services and to confirm the name of the business. Businesses in each block of the construction area project are listed on A-frames and placed in a location nearby.

I need more technical assistance in order to prepare for construction season. What should I do? 

The Department of Public Works has created many partnerships with local business support organizations.  Resources are listed in the Support for Business Guidebook and on the SFB website.

Some of my employees are not comfortable with computers. Where can I get help?

Your liaison can provide hard copies of program materials upon request. Additionally, the Milwaukee Public Library offers computer classes in most of its branches. Call Ready Reference at 286-3011 to register or you can register online at www.mpl.org.

Why are they putting “no parking” signs on both sides of the street? 

Both sides of the street are required to provide safe and open access for construction equipment movement.

Where are my customers supposed to park if the entrances to my parking lot are blocked?

The liaison, along with DPW staff, will redirect traffic with signage to the parking lot. In some cases staff will work to try to establish parking alternatives.

How are construction projects chosen each year?

Infrastructure Services Division develops and maintains a database of all work needed in the city. Each year, proposed projects are selected based on condition and available funding.  Once funding is approved by the Common Council, Infrastructure Services will coordinate with the pertinent agencies to alert them of the project.

When a paving project is proposed, a public hearing is scheduled to get input from property owners. Prior to the hearing, many aldermen will conduct a survey or host meetings to determine if there is support for the project.  Once a project is approved, an assessment cost is assigned to each adjacent property owner. 

If denied, the projects may be scheduled in 5-6 years. If approved, the projects are then grouped into a contract, based on the type of work and location of the projects.

Why does it take so long to build a new bridge/road?

Once a project is approved, Infrastructure Services Division staff utilizes construction guidelines to determine the length of the project.  The completion date is always shared with the public.   From time to time, there may be unforeseen problems during construction. These could be soil contamination, underground obstructions, increased scope of work or replacements not discovered until work begins.   Most often the completion date is met.

Who performs the construction work?

The City of Milwaukee hires private contractors to perform most of the construction. Contracts are open for bid and advertised in the Daily Reporter Newspaper and on the Department of Public Works’ website. All contractors utilized by DPW must meet strict City requirements for proper licensing, bonding and insurance.