The Hoan Bridge will be closed to motor vehicles and opened to bicycles for the first time in decades on Sunday, when thousands of riders go over the span in the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will close roughly two miles of I-794 from 5:30 to 10 a.m. Motorists heading northbound are advised to exit at Howard Ave. and take I-94 into the Marquette Interchange and those driving southbound/east are advised to follow I-94.
Cyclists on 25-, 50- and 75-mile routes in the UPAF Ride will start at the Summerfest grounds, climb the 3% grade and descend to Carferry Drive.
The 25-mile route continues to Grant Park, while the 50- and 75-mile routes double back north over the bridge.
The Hoan has been closed to cyclists and pedestrians since it opened in the late 1970s.
Early in its existence, Milwaukee County officials closed the bridge to motor vehicles and opened it to walkers and bikers on one day each year.
That practice ended in the late 1980s, and state officials have rejected persistent requests to open a lane for non-motorized traffic on the bridge. The debate continues.
The Hoan will be filled with cyclists on Sunday morning. Journal Sentinel photo by Jack Orton
City officials said earlier this week that a bike and pedestrian path on the bridge should be included in the plans for reconstructing the bridge, a project that will start at the end of 2013 and cost $275 million to $350 million.
While holding firm against permanent access for non-motorized users of the bridge, state officials agreed to permit the bikers in the UPAF Ride and runners in the Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole run to go over the Hoan.
The opportunity to pedal over the Hoan helped boost the registration numbers for the Ride for Arts. Organizers said that 6,000 had signed up for the ride through Thursday, and another 500 to 1,000 were expected to register Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Roughly 6,000 participated in the ride in 2010.
Registration is open from noon to 6 p.m. in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St., on Friday and Saturday. Riders can sign up at the Summerfest grounds from 6 to 9 a.m. on Sunday.
The first bikers to head over the Hoan will leave the start line at 7 a.m.
Based on the forecast, wind will not be much of a factor on Sunday morning. The National Weather Service predicts light breezes of five to 10 mph from the north.
Tales from the road: If you ride over the Hoan on Sunday, send your impressions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stories will be included in coverage of the ride and Bike to Work Week, which opens on Monday.