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Author Topic: WI-26 Upgrade Report  (Read 14558 times)

SEWIGuy

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WI-26 Upgrade Report
« on: April 30, 2010, 04:55:21 PM »

Yesterday, I had a chance to head to Jefferson County to catch-up on the WI-26 upgrade project.  This project will eventually create a 4-lane highway from Janesville to the intersection with WI-60 north of Watertown.  All cities will be bypassed along the way, with the exception of Johnson Creek, which is where WI-26 intersects with I-94.

The bypass of Jefferson is pretty much complete, except for the paving, and the final intersections on the north and south end of town.  The southern end of the bypass will actually begin at the northern end of the Fort Atkinson bypass.  The Fort Atkinson bypass at the north end has actually been realligned to feed better into the Jefferson bypass.  This will be a full-freeway bypass.

Work on the Fort Atkinson bypass has also begun.  The Fort Atkinson bypass is currently two-lane, most of which is a super-two expressway.  They are adding two-lanes and a median, and constructing bridges to keep all cross-traffic off the bypass.  This will also then be a full-freeway bypass.  Work on the section between the Jefferson bypass and the current Johnson Creek four-lane segment has begun.  This is a very short section that will not be a full-freeway.

Finally, the Watertown section began last year, most of which has occured on the south end of town.  There is not much evidence of the bypass on the northern end.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/wis26corridor/map.htm
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2010, 02:10:24 AM »

I'll have to take a peek at this project in the near future - I last checked it all out last summer.

I do find it interesting how the north end of the Fort Atkinson bypass is being redirected to follow the west side of the railroad towards Jefferson instead of crossing over to the east side of it as it does now.  Too bad the two weren't built together when the Fort Atkinson section was first built in the 1980s - it could have saved a considerable amount of linear distance of ROW and concrete.

Also, I have been bugging WisDOT to extend that work beyond WI 60 for several years now, or at least start planning for it.  I'd like to see it continue on to connect with US 151 at the SE 'corner' of Beaver Dam.

Anything on progress on the Milton bypass section and planning for the new US 12 Fort Atkinson-Whitewater section yet?

WI 26 is an important connection between NE Wisconsin and points south.

Mike
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2010, 10:39:02 AM »

The only indication of any work south of Fort Atkinson is that they realligned WI-59 south of town last year.  Work on that section isn't set to begin until 2012.

The Whitewater to Fort Atkinson work, which is essentially a Fort Atkinson bypass, has basically been shelved.  They have selected alternative 7a.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/d1/us12fort/docs/map-southbypassconcept.pdf

They are also looking at a different alternative to 7a called "Concept J" which relocates the US-12 / WI-26 interchange just south of the current southern bypass interchange.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/d1/us12fort/docs/memo-conceptj.pdf

My guess is this doesn't happen for 15 years at least.
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2010, 01:58:28 PM »

The only indication of any work south of Fort Atkinson is that they realligned WI-59 south of town last year.  Work on that section isn't set to begin until 2012.

The Whitewater to Fort Atkinson work, which is essentially a Fort Atkinson bypass, has basically been shelved.  They have selected alternative 7a.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/d1/us12fort/docs/map-southbypassconcept.pdf

They are also looking at a different alternative to 7a called "Concept J" which relocates the US-12 / WI-26 interchange just south of the current southern bypass interchange.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/d1/us12fort/docs/memo-conceptj.pdf

My guess is this doesn't happen for 15 years at least.

Well, WisDOT is studying alignments for heavy upgrades to the US 151/WI 23 interchange in Fond du Lac, even though construction is not expected for 20-30 years, just to preserve ROW.  The idea there is to add a full-speed free flow connection in the major turn direction (US 151 to the south<->WI 23 to the east).

Anyways, I do not like that 'Concept J' at all and the discussion in that paper comes to the same conclusion.  '7a' is the routing that I favored all along, too, and I like its redo of the WI 26 south interchange (free-flow ramps and favoring the US 12 through movement).

More broadly, as I have been thinking out loud for a couple of decades now, :poke: US 12 southeast of Madison strikes me as a dam that is about to fail, with it being just a couple of little upgrades here and there (ie, the Fort Atkinson bypass, the Whitewater-Elkhorn 'corner cut', a Richmond, IL bypass, the IL 53 Lake County Tollway, etc) away from suddenly needing fast-track upgrades to a fully interstate compatible six-lane freeway, including major re-engineering of the Beltline interchange in Madison - it will supplant I-90 and I-94 as the major routing between Chicagoland and points northwest.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 09:22:00 AM »

I just also comment on your WI-26 to US-151 hookup.  The locals generally take Dodge County A between WI-26 just south of Juneau, which intersects with US-151 just northeast of Beaver Dam.

One idea would be to follow that general highway up to US-151.  Another would be to have WI-26 turn northwest after the WI-60 interchange, follow a current railroad ROW to where it can hook up with US-151 near the County G interchange on the south side of Beaver Dam.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 05:52:48 PM »

I just also comment on your WI-26 to US-151 hookup.  The locals generally take Dodge County A between WI-26 just south of Juneau, which intersects with US-151 just northeast of Beaver Dam.

One idea would be to follow that general highway up to US-151.  Another would be to have WI-26 turn northwest after the WI-60 interchange, follow a current railroad ROW to where it can hook up with US-151 near the County G interchange on the south side of Beaver Dam.


Today, the local rag did an update on this project and a meeting WIDOT had with County officials.  One thing they mentioned was that they do know that upgrading north of WI-60 is going to be a major issue, but there is still some debate as to the best way to route a potential upgrade.  The County A route I mentioned was actually discussed as a possibility.
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 10:18:45 PM »

I just also comment on your WI-26 to US-151 hookup.  The locals generally take Dodge County A between WI-26 just south of Juneau, which intersects with US-151 just northeast of Beaver Dam.

One idea would be to follow that general highway up to US-151.  Another would be to have WI-26 turn northwest after the WI-60 interchange, follow a current railroad ROW to where it can hook up with US-151 near the County G interchange on the south side of Beaver Dam.


Today, the local rag did an update on this project and a meeting WIDOT had with County officials.  One thing they mentioned was that they do know that upgrading north of WI-60 is going to be a major issue, but there is still some debate as to the best way to route a potential upgrade.  The County A route I mentioned was actually discussed as a possibility.

Do you have a link to that article?

Also, as I have mentioned in various forvms in recent years and have communicated to WisDOT on several occasions, my favorite northward extension of WI 26 from WI 16/60 would be as a 'super two' freeway on an upgradable new four-lane ROW generally along County 'A' and County 'W' to connect with US 151 using free-flow ramps at the southeast 'corner' of Beaver Dam.  Also, remove the County 'G' interchange on US 151 at Beaver Dam and redirect County 'G' to feed into BR US 151 at its planned re-engineered interchange at the southwest corner of Beaver Dam.  This would all would pass through wide-open countryside and IMHO be the simplest, most straightforward routing with the least new concrete and best overall public utility.

Mike
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 10:50:16 PM »

No link to the article.  The one they have online omits the comments made about future expansion.  But I completely agree with your suggestion about future routing.
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 10:34:21 PM »

I had the day off and took a round-trip ride on WI 26 between Oshkosh and I-39/90 at Janesville on Sunday (2010-08-22).

-YES, those four-way STOP signs between Waupun and WI 60 are beyond annoying!  No relief on that using County 'A' on that point, there are a few on that road, too.

-Some preliminary ROW clearance work has been done for the four-lane upgrades on the part between WI 60 and Watertown (the WI 16/26 duplex section).

-Construction on the westside Watertown bypass freeway is well under way, including an interesting bridge on Watertown's south side.  As it sits now, it is mostly hidden from view from existing WI 26, barely visible behind a small glacial esker.  WI 19 is currently *closed* at its WI 26 interchange, which will include roundabouts at the ramp intersections.  These are getting popular in the state, the US 41 work in both the Oshkosh-Neenah and Green Bay metro areas will include OODLES of them!  This bypass looks to be on schedule to open in late 2011.

-MUCH grading has been done on the remaining two-lane sections between Watertown and Jefferson.  Nope, there is no work nor any known near-term plans to eliminate the stop-and-go lights in the I-94 area at Johnson Creek.     :verymad:  :banghead:

-The westside Jefferson bypass freeway looks to be on schedule to open later on this year.  As part of that project, the interchange at the north end of Fort Atkinson is being realigned to a much greater extent than I was at first expecting.

-Grading for upgrading the WI 26 Fort Atkinson bypass from a 'super-two' to a full four-lane freeway is under way, the part at the north end (including bridging those two BAD crossroads) looks to be on track to be done this fall, along with the Jefferson bypass.  South of US 12, it'll be at least another year as this part includes a new bridge over the Rock River for the southbound side of the highway, work on which is just under way.

-The part between Fort Atkinson and Milton is showing a few signs of some ROW clearance.

-The only work on the planned Milton bypass freeway so far (to go around the city's east side) is a pair of roundabouts for the WI 26 interchange ramps on the newly relocated part of WI 59 as it heads eastward out of town.  There is also a roundabout at the new WI 59/County 'M' intersection.

-Nope, just like at Johnson Creek, there are no known near-term plans to eliminate the intersections and stop-and-go lights near I-39/90 in and near Janesville.     :verymad:  :banghead:

-A major natural gas pipeline is being constructed across Janesville's far north side.

Mike
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 10:37:43 PM by mgk920 »
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2010, 09:43:54 AM »

Yep, there will be no improvements at Johnson Creek.  20 years ago, there was nothing there.  But now I don't think WIDOT can do much of anything unless it locates the highway signifcantly to the east, or buys up a bunch of commercial businesses.  The ROW clearing between Fort Atkinson and Milton also includes a newly discovered archiological site.

http://gazettextra.com/news/2010/may/02/anthropologists-explore-treasures-near-lake-koshko/
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2010, 12:35:50 PM »

Yep, there will be no improvements at Johnson Creek.  20 years ago, there was nothing there.  But now I don't think WIDOT can do much of anything unless it locates the highway signifcantly to the east, or buys up a bunch of commercial businesses.  The ROW clearing between Fort Atkinson and Milton also includes a newly discovered archiological site.

http://gazettextra.com/news/2010/may/02/anthropologists-explore-treasures-near-lake-koshko/
A few years ago I did some map scribbling in that area where I came up with an idea for routing a bypass freeway around the west side of Johnson Creek.  It would have interchanges at both ends of town plus at I-94, done in such a way as to be as non-disruptive as possible to the present commercial area.  An east side routing would work, too.

Yes, any such work would be well into the future, but ultimately something will have to be done with those signals (and also the ones in Janesville), they are as annoying as the ones on US 10 on Stevens Point's east side (between I-39 and the upgraded highway farther east towards Appleton).  At Stevens Point, plans are in place for a US 10 east bypass freeway to begin construction (hopefully) within the next five-ten years.

Mike
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2010, 10:20:17 AM »

The WI-26 bypass of Jefferson opened yesterday!

I drove it this morning.  WIDOT did a nice job with this one.  It is a four lane highway with interchanges at Bus WI-26 both on the north and south end of town...both are still closed but will open by Thanksgiving...and at US-18.  The south Bus WI-26 also is marked "To WI-89."  The only real issue is the 3/4 mile two lane stretch between the north end of the bypass and the four lanes at Johnson Creek.  That will be gone within the next couple of years though as the WI-26 corridor improvements are completed.

Right now it is marked at 55 mph.  I am not sure if that will changed after the Fort Atkinson bypass upgrades are finished next summer, resulting in a four lane freeway from just south of Fort Atkinson to just south of Johnson Creek.  Also north of US-18, the highway has a typical "Alternate I-94" signage.
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2010, 12:36:39 PM »

The WI-26 bypass of Jefferson opened yesterday!

I drove it this morning.  WIDOT did a nice job with this one.  It is a four lane highway with interchanges at Bus WI-26 both on the north and south end of town...both are still closed but will open by Thanksgiving...and at US-18.  The south Bus WI-26 also is marked "To WI-89."  The only real issue is the 3/4 mile two lane stretch between the north end of the bypass and the four lanes at Johnson Creek.  That will be gone within the next couple of years though as the WI-26 corridor improvements are completed.

Right now it is marked at 55 mph.  I am not sure if that will changed after the Fort Atkinson bypass upgrades are finished next summer, resulting in a four lane freeway from just south of Fort Atkinson to just south of Johnson Creek.  Also north of US-18, the highway has a typical "Alternate I-94" signage.

I can easily see WI 89 ultimately being rerouted around the north and east sides of that hill by the Fort Atkinson North interchange to feed into that interchange.  I was somewhat amazed that the WI 26 mainline was realigned there, as I found out when I drove it a two months ago, with the bridge in that interchange being replaced on the new higher-speed curve alignment.  That interchange was not that old, still well within its design life.

Do you think that WisDOT has actually learned its lessons regarding those 'bypasses on the cheap' that they were doing a few years ago (ie, US 151 around Fond du Lac)?

Mike
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2010, 02:54:16 PM »

WI-89 was only redirected along the old Jefferson County Q between US-18 and Fort Atkinson about 15-20 years ago.  What they should have done is route WI-89 along US-18 east to the new interchange, and run it along the new WI-26 bypass to the Bus WI-26 bypass on the north side of Fort Atkinson.  As it stands now, WI-89 is simply a local road...probably worth of a simple county highway designation.  The distance between the US-18/WI-89 intersection, and the new WI-26/US-18 interchange, is probably about a mile. 

As for "learning their lesson" see my comments on the new Burlington bypass.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2010, 09:10:12 AM »

WI-89 was only redirected along the old Jefferson County Q between US-18 and Fort Atkinson about 15-20 years ago.  What they should have done is route WI-89 along US-18 east to the new interchange, and run it along the new WI-26 bypass to the Bus WI-26 bypass on the north side of Fort Atkinson.  As it stands now, WI-89 is simply a local road...probably worth of a simple county highway designation.  The distance between the US-18/WI-89 intersection, and the new WI-26/US-18 interchange, is probably about a mile.

What WisDOT should do with WI 89 is break it up into two separate state highways.  It's completely unnecessary between Whitewater and Jefferson.  But we all know how much they love their long, stupid multiplexes in this state.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2010, 09:19:43 AM »

The re-routing of WI-89 that they did between US-18 and Fort Atkinson made a great deal of sense when they did it.  They basically put a state highway designation on a county highway that people used all the time to get from Lake Mills to Fort Atkinson.  So right now, the duplex with US-12 is only about ten miles from FA to Whitewater.  Is giving the section south of Whitewater, and the section north of US-18, really worth the effort and cost of signage? 

The easiest thing to do would be to renumber the highway south of Whitewater to something like WI-189.  You wouldn't have to change a bunch of signs and no BGSs like you would if you changed the northern section.
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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2010, 10:54:01 AM »

The re-routing of WI-89 that they did between US-18 and Fort Atkinson made a great deal of sense when they did it.  They basically put a state highway designation on a county highway that people used all the time to get from Lake Mills to Fort Atkinson.  So right now, the duplex with US-12 is only about ten miles from FA to Whitewater.  Is giving the section south of Whitewater, and the section north of US-18, really worth the effort and cost of signage? 

The easiest thing to do would be to renumber the highway south of Whitewater to something like WI-189.  You wouldn't have to change a bunch of signs and no BGSs like you would if you changed the northern section.

Well, if/when the Whitewater-Fort Atkinson section of the US 12 freeway is ever built, 'old' US 12 can certainly remain as WI 89.  Ditto the 'Corner Cut' - the east-west part of existing US 12 can be remarked as WI 20 and the north-south part can remain as WI 67.

Mike
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JREwing78

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2010, 11:21:27 PM »

Article from the Wisconsin State Journal on the WI-26 Jefferson bypass opening:
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_f3ebd09c-e9b5-11df-b1bd-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story
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JREwing78

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2010, 07:58:27 PM »

I did a quick side-trip along WI-26 from Janesville to Johnson Creek just before the height of rush-hour tonight, and the upgrades can't come fast enough. Traffic moves well enough, but it's heavy all the way to Fort Atkinson, and there's no hope of passing slower traffic on the 2-lane stretches.

The newly-opened 4-lane stretch feel horribly slow posted at 55 mph; there's enough construction at both ends that not posting it at 65 is understandable. But it's going to be a horrible speed trap until it's raised.

Johnson Creek isn't the worst stretch to drive through, even at the height of rush hour traffic was fairly light. But it won't take long for all the commercial development to cause slowdowns here, particularly once the 4-laning of 26 is completed between 151 and Janesville.

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mgk920

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2010, 10:19:51 PM »

I made a down-and-back trip on WI 26 on Monday.  It is much as you said south of I-94.  North of I-94, there is a lot of grading work under way all the way to where the Watertown bypass rejoins the existing ROW north of Watertown.  The short westward extension of the WI 16 Watertown bypass to connect with the new WI 26 bypass (that will be a trumpet interchange favoring WI 26) is also mostly graded now.  The information that I have has the Watertown bypass scheduled to open sometime during 2012.

I also noticed that an archeological dig is under way along WI 26 a short distance south of Fort Atkinson.

Mike
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2010, 07:11:54 PM »

2012 is correct.

Here is an article on the dig.  If they find any human remains, which they haven't yet, it is going to cause some issues with the highway routing.

http://gazettextra.com/news/2010/may/02/anthropologists-explore-treasures-near-lake-koshko/
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Coelacanth

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2010, 11:46:51 AM »

it is going to cause some issues with the highway routing
Thank you for not describing these as "grave issues"
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JREwing78

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2011, 11:43:35 PM »

Update:

The concrete is mostly (if not completely) laid for the SBD lanes of the WI-26 Fort Atkinson bypass. The southern portion has a VERY narrow median - it's likely to have Jersey barriers in place once completed. The median widens coming up to the US-12 interchange.

The condition of the concrete on the soon-to-be NBD lanes suggests WisDOT will rebuild those too. Better now than when the 4-lanes come up from Milton.

Between Jefferson and Johnson Creek, WisDOT is squeezing a 4-lane through in a ROW that doesn't quite fit, so the frontage roads are a bit wonky and the alignment appear to shift around to avoid existing structures. The railroad overpass is taking form in the soon-to-be SBD lanes. I don't see this stretch being done this year, but they could easily complete it next year if sufficiently funded.

I haven't yet done the drive into Watertown from Johnson Creek. But the section north to WI-60 shows its age, and was clearly never intended to become part of a 4-lane highway. The WI-16 bypass is surprisingly narrow and quite a slow go around Watertown's east side. After the long stretch of 4-lanes most of the way Watertown, going down to two lanes really makes this stretch a slog.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2011, 04:53:01 PM »


I haven't yet done the drive into Watertown from Johnson Creek. But the section north to WI-60 shows its age, and was clearly never intended to become part of a 4-lane highway. The WI-16 bypass is surprisingly narrow and quite a slow go around Watertown's east side. After the long stretch of 4-lanes most of the way Watertown, going down to two lanes really makes this stretch a slog.


WI-26 will bypass Watertown on the *west* side of the city on a completely new section of road.  It won't be using the WI-16 "bypass."

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JREwing78

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Re: WI-26 Upgrade Report
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2011, 10:07:38 PM »


I haven't yet done the drive into Watertown from Johnson Creek. But the section north to WI-60 shows its age, and was clearly never intended to become part of a 4-lane highway. The WI-16 bypass is surprisingly narrow and quite a slow go around Watertown's east side. After the long stretch of 4-lanes most of the way Watertown, going down to two lanes really makes this stretch a slog.

WI-26 will bypass Watertown on the *west* side of the city on a completely new section of road.  It won't be using the WI-16 "bypass."

I didn't intend to imply otherwise. I switched to discussing WI-16 coming from the east to meet up with WI-26 and didn't give the proper cue.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 10:09:46 PM by JREwing78 »
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