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Regional Boards => Midwest - Great Lakes => Topic started by: peterj920 on October 12, 2021, 01:03:41 AM

Title: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: peterj920 on October 12, 2021, 01:03:41 AM
For the last 30 years, Wisconsin had a 4 lane expansion boom with US 10, US 51, US 151, Wis 29, Wis 26, and US 53 to name a few large 4 lane freeway/expressway projects. Once the Wis 23 and Wis 15 projects are complete, there doesnít look to be anymore 2 lane roads being considered for 4 lane expansion. With the US 51 Stoughton Project enumerated, it will mark the first time a major project involves rebuilding primarily a 2 lane highway.

It seems like WISDOT will focus more of its efforts in the future on improving existing ďbackbone routesĒ by slowly converting existing expressways to freeways or adding lanes to existing freeways.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: JoePCool14 on October 12, 2021, 07:49:22 AM
It definitely might be from the sound of things, and it's probably a good thing as well.

We've discussed on a different thread the sometimes half-baked nature of WisDOT 4-lane expansions, such as the Burlington bypass. There may still be roads within the state that could use expansion, but I think upgrades like proper interchanges for the sake of better traffic flow and safety should be the focus. Also, we're seeing projects to improve I-43 north of Milwaukee, expanding and rebuilding that road. That project is one that has been overdue.

There are lots of roads that need rehabilitation or modernization in terms of design as opposed to outright expansion, and I think that's where the current focus needs to be.

For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 12, 2021, 09:05:02 AM
Hopefully.

As most of us know, I've been a critic of WisDOT's lavish four lane expressway/freeway building mania for these reasons.

1. There is a lot of redundancy within the projects they've constructed. They could have saved money by figuring out years ago how to build one corridor that serves the purpose of two or more highways, thus saving on construction and maintenance costs. Examples include US 10/WIS 29, WIS 26/US 151, etc. WisDOT traffic projections for these projects have sometimes proven to be dubious.

2. Some of the highways, such as WIS 23 and WIS 26, could have gotten away with cheaper 5 lane undivided highways as they serve more local traffic than regional.

3. The four lane highway building mania took the focus away from the Interstates, thus, there is a huge backlog of Interstate rebuilding/widening projects that are needed now.

4. Maintenance costs on all of these highways is going to skyrocket in the future, thus diverting resources away from other areas that could use expansion.

Other than building a Sauk City bypass, it is time WisDOT puts the breaks on further four lane expansions and fix what they have.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: on_wisconsin on October 12, 2021, 09:33:37 AM
It definitely might be from the sound of things, and it's probably a good thing as well.

We've discussed on a different thread the sometimes half-baked nature of WisDOT 4-lane expansions, such as the Burlington bypass. There may still be roads within the state that could use expansion, but I think upgrades like proper interchanges for the sake of better traffic flow and safety should be the focus. Also, we're seeing projects to improve I-43 north of Milwaukee, expanding and rebuilding that road. That project is one that has been overdue.

There are lots of roads that need rehabilitation or modernization in terms of design as opposed to outright expansion, and I think that's where the current focus needs to be.

US 53 in Eau Claire- Altoona comes to mind as an classic WisDOT under built bypass project. (The interchange with US 12 should have at least been built as a tight partial Y/ SPUI. Also, both River Prairie Dr and WIS 312/ North Crossing would have been significantly improved where they build as Parclos or SPUIs. Nevermind that the whole project needed six lanes from the start. As evidenced that one of the constant questions the local media get from the public is about when is the state going to improve and/ or widen the bypass. /Rant)       

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For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

Outside of the aforementioned  Sauk City bypass, WIS 65/ 35 between Ellsworth and the N. Main St interchange in River Falls would be the big one that comes to mind for Western Wisco. Especially, given the rapid growth rate in the area. Side Note: River Falls is few big box stores away from being full-on suburb at this point. IMHO
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 12, 2021, 10:21:52 AM
Hopefully.

As most of us know, I've been a critic of WisDOT's lavish four lane expressway/freeway building mania for these reasons.

1. There is a lot of redundancy within the projects they've constructed. They could have saved money by figuring out years ago how to build one corridor that serves the purpose of two or more highways, thus saving on construction and maintenance costs. Examples include US 10/WIS 29, WIS 26/US 151, etc. WisDOT traffic projections for these projects have sometimes proven to be dubious.

2. Some of the highways, such as WIS 23 and WIS 26, could have gotten away with cheaper 5 lane undivided highways as they serve more local traffic than regional.

3. The four lane highway building mania took the focus away from the Interstates, thus, there is a huge backlog of Interstate rebuilding/widening projects that are needed now.

4. Maintenance costs on all of these highways is going to skyrocket in the future, thus diverting resources away from other areas that could use expansion.

Other than building a Sauk City bypass, it is time WisDOT puts the breaks on further four lane expansions and fix what they have.

Agree completely.

Regarding #2, I lived in Fort Atkinson when the WI-26 expansion project occurred.  The only parts of WI-26 that truly *needed* four lanes was the part between Milton and Janesville, since a surprising portion of Janesville residents are in the Milton school district, and the portion around I-94 at Johnson Creek.  The "super two" bypass of Fort Atkinson was more than fine.  They could have easily done something similar with Milton, Jefferson and Watertown.

Driving it now, you can see it is way overbuilt and unlikely to ever meet its traffic projections.  I don't even think a five lane roadway was necessary, but doing some curve-straightening, driveway limitation projects like they are planning with US-12/18 between Madison and Cambridge would have been sufficient.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: Crazy Volvo Guy on October 12, 2021, 12:52:01 PM
The only way to think some of these corridors are somehow overbuilt is to never have driven anything bigger than your car.  You should give that a try sometime, it will change your perspective on a lot of things.

In the meantime, understand that many of these upgrades occur not in response to local demand or local traffic, but things like through truck traffic.  All of WI 26 between I-41 and Janesville carries a lot of truck traffic.  And that's the reason the entire thing between those points *should* be four lanes.  29 carries a lot of trucks from the Fox Valley over toward the Twin Cities and points west, hence those upgrades.  US 10 between I-41 and I-39, same thing.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: dvferyance on October 12, 2021, 07:23:07 PM
The only ones left that is even worthy of a 4 lane expansion is US-51 between Tomahawk and Woodruff. And US-141 from Pound to Crivitz. The later is unlikely. Another longshot possibility would be US-12 from Madison to Cambridge or a 4 lane Whitewater bypass.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 12, 2021, 09:23:27 PM
The only way to think some of these corridors are somehow overbuilt is to never have driven anything bigger than your car.  You should give that a try sometime, it will change your perspective on a lot of things.

In the meantime, understand that many of these upgrades occur not in response to local demand or local traffic, but things like through truck traffic.  All of WI 26 between I-41 and Janesville carries a lot of truck traffic.  And that's the reason the entire thing between those points *should* be four lanes.  29 carries a lot of trucks from the Fox Valley over toward the Twin Cities and points west, hence those upgrades.  US 10 between I-41 and I-39, same thing.

There isnít that much truck traffic on Wi-26Öwhen compared to the interstate highways where the real issues exist.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: Revive 755 on October 12, 2021, 10:58:21 PM
For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

The gap on the US 12 corridor between Madison and Wisconsin Dells perhaps?  Might be nice to have prior to the next major construction project on I-39/I-90/I-94.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: coolkevs on October 13, 2021, 01:31:17 AM

For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

US 12 around Sauk City for sure. 12 should probably be a freeway from Middleton up to the northern intersection with Hwy 19, maybe even 3 lanes. Hwy K intersection is pretty bad.
US 51 Stoughton Road north of the Beltline to Cottage Grove Rd should be freeway
I like the 18-151 Verona Rd freeway south of Raymond Rd, but they really should have bit the bullet and did the whole thing from the Beltline
53 around Eau Claire should be 3-lanes up to Hwy 29
Hwy 14 from Oregon to Evansville is pretty dangerous but they opted not to use the right-of-way for now that would only go to Hwy 92
I was surprised when they made the new 151 around Fond Du Lac and opted not to have a free-flowing interchange with US/I-41. That traffic light always irks me.
Might as well 4-lane 26 north of Waupun around Rosendale to 41.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 13, 2021, 08:53:12 AM
Might as well 4-lane 26 north of Waupun around Rosendale to 41.


That is something WIDOT won't do.  They want traffic to use US-151 up to Fond du Lac.  (Which I do by the way.  Takes a little longer but worth it staying on a four lane highway.)
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on October 13, 2021, 12:46:20 PM
Might as well 4-lane 26 north of Waupun around Rosendale to 41.


That is something WIDOT won't do.  They want traffic to use US-151 up to Fond du Lac.  (Which I do by the way.  Takes a little longer but worth it staying on a four lane highway.)

They went as far as removing Oshkosh from the WIS 26 signs at 151 for this reason.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 13, 2021, 01:03:08 PM

For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

US 12 around Sauk City for sure. 12 should probably be a freeway from Middleton up to the northern intersection with Hwy 19, maybe even 3 lanes. Hwy K intersection is pretty bad.
US 51 Stoughton Road north of the Beltline to Cottage Grove Rd should be freeway
I like the 18-151 Verona Rd freeway south of Raymond Rd, but they really should have bit the bullet and did the whole thing from the Beltline
53 around Eau Claire should be 3-lanes up to Hwy 29
Hwy 14 from Oregon to Evansville is pretty dangerous but they opted not to use the right-of-way for now that would only go to Hwy 92
I was surprised when they made the new 151 around Fond Du Lac and opted not to have a free-flowing interchange with US/I-41. That traffic light always irks me.
Might as well 4-lane 26 north of Waupun around Rosendale to 41.


There is a difference between expanding capacity and extending four laning on existing corridors (largely what you are recommending) and what WIDOT has engaged in the last 20+ years.

Creating four lane highways completely from two lanes, oftentimes on new terrain, has oftentimes been good (WI-29), oftentimes been bad (US-10 east of Marshfield, Burlington bypass) and mostly been OK but largely wasteful (WI-26, US-10/45 project)  Those are the types of projects that seem dead to me.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: triplemultiplex on October 13, 2021, 07:20:12 PM
Well, I would describe the rural four-lane upgrades as more 'done' than 'dead'. Starting in the late 80's, the state went on dedicated campaign to connect all of its mid-sized cities with free-flowing expressway corridors.  Now that job is effectively done, more or less on schedule.  I seem to recall a "Corridors 2020" branding back around the Millenium from WisDOT.

Barring any major population surges in one of those mid-sized cities, it only makes sense that we've seen the end of new corridors.

In the next 10 years the only actions I think we'll see are fleshing out that US 12 corridor between Madison and The Dells that everyone keeps mentioning, and then maybe they'll get the ball rolling on connecting WI 26's expressway to US 151 somewhere.  I know I've read musings on this forum of sending 26 up CTH A or a new terrain facility that 'short cuts' to US 151 at Beaver Dam.

But in the big picture, Wisconsin's population has been relatively stable.  The largest growth is still occurring around Madison and in St. Croix County, so if there is any place where something is going to go from 2 lanes to 4; it'll be those areas.

Overall, WisDOT did a great job with those "Corridors 2020".  They only left us with a couple of "Breezewoods" through all that, so big ups for getting most of those system interchanges up to par.  And the upgradability of most of those corridors is already paying dividends.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 13, 2021, 07:47:12 PM
Well, I would describe the rural four-lane upgrades as more 'done' than 'dead'. Starting in the late 80's, the state went on dedicated campaign to connect all of its mid-sized cities with free-flowing expressway corridors.  Now that job is effectively done, more or less on schedule.  I seem to recall a "Corridors 2020" branding back around the Millenium from WisDOT.

Barring any major population surges in one of those mid-sized cities, it only makes sense that we've seen the end of new corridors.

In the next 10 years the only actions I think we'll see are fleshing out that US 12 corridor between Madison and The Dells that everyone keeps mentioning, and then maybe they'll get the ball rolling on connecting WI 26's expressway to US 151 somewhere.  I know I've read musings on this forum of sending 26 up CTH A or a new terrain facility that 'short cuts' to US 151 at Beaver Dam.

But in the big picture, Wisconsin's population has been relatively stable.  The largest growth is still occurring around Madison and in St. Croix County, so if there is any place where something is going to go from 2 lanes to 4; it'll be those areas.

Overall, WisDOT did a great job with those "Corridors 2020".  They only left us with a couple of "Breezewoods" through all that, so big ups for getting most of those system interchanges up to par.  And the upgradability of most of those corridors is already paying dividends.

Indeed, and they are to be commended for that. The problem is WisDOT went beyond the backbone routes in Corridors 2020 and made some of the connector routes in that plan more than what was needed. They should have (generally speaking) tried to limit the freeway/free flowing expressway upgrades to the backbone routes and made the connectors more like 5 lane arterials or divided highways with stoplights as most connectors serve local traffic.

Here is a link to corridors 2020 if anyone is interested.

https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/projects/multimodal/hwy2020-plan.pdf (https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/projects/multimodal/hwy2020-plan.pdf)
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: thspfc on October 13, 2021, 09:17:49 PM

For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

US 12 around Sauk City for sure. 12 should probably be a freeway from Middleton up to the northern intersection with Hwy 19, maybe even 3 lanes. Hwy K intersection is pretty bad.
An interchange is at CTH-K is very needed. An interchange at WI-19/CTH-P would be nice, but CTH-K needs to be converted first.
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US 51 Stoughton Road north of the Beltline to Cottage Grove Rd should be freeway
The Stoughton Road/Beltline interchange could be converted into a DDI/SPUI. There's no reasonable or realistic way to make it free-flowing. The East Broadway light sucks, but it's going nowhere. At Pflaum/Buckeye, I think they could put Texas-style ramps leading to one-way frontage roads in between the two.
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I like the 18-151 Verona Rd freeway south of Raymond Rd, but they really should have bit the bullet and did the whole thing from the Beltline
I wonder if it would be feasible, congestion-wise, to dead-end Raymond before it meets Verona Road.  Probably not because the Beltline/Whitney Way interchange is already crowded as is.
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I was surprised when they made the new 151 around Fond Du Lac and opted not to have a free-flowing interchange with US/I-41. That traffic light always irks me.
I've never had problems with those lights. I do think they should remove the excuse of an interchange at WI-175 before it causes a major accident. It's very redundant to Hickory St and I-41.
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Might as well 4-lane 26 north of Waupun around Rosendale to 41.
In 2014 and 2015 WISDOT added numerous passing lanes to that stretch. Perhaps more telling is that they, as was said upthread, removed all mentions of Oshkosh in and around the Waupun area.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: thspfc on October 13, 2021, 09:37:58 PM
Hopefully.

As most of us know, I've been a critic of WisDOT's lavish four lane expressway/freeway building mania for these reasons.

1. There is a lot of redundancy within the projects they've constructed. They could have saved money by figuring out years ago how to build one corridor that serves the purpose of two or more highways, thus saving on construction and maintenance costs. Examples include US 10/WIS 29, WIS 26/US 151, etc. WisDOT traffic projections for these projects have sometimes proven to be dubious.
What do you propose for a hybrid corridor of US-10 and WI-29? Something roughly along US-10 out of Stevens Point to WI-161, WI-22, WI-76, and WI-54 to WI-172 perhaps? But even then you're adding significant mileage, and no longer serving communities like Shawano and Waupaca.

Similar story with a WI-26 and US-151 hybrid. It wouldn't hit Milton, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Watertown, Sun Prairie, or Columbus, instead passing by smaller and fewer communities such as Cambridge and Waterloo.

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2. Some of the highways, such as WIS 23 and WIS 26, could have gotten away with cheaper 5 lane undivided highways as they serve more local traffic than regional.
I can't speak as much for the four-lane section of WI-26. But WI-23 between FDL and Plymouth serves lots of regional traffic. I'm not sure where you came up with the narrative that a busy route which only intersects county roads and driveways, and passes through no incorporated communities (on the section between FDL and Plymouth that was two lanes prior to this year) doesn't serve much regional traffic.

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3. The four lane highway building mania took the focus away from the Interstates, thus, there is a huge backlog of Interstate rebuilding/widening projects that are needed now.
This is a fair point, though it's not like WI is the only state with Interstates that need to be widened.

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4. Maintenance costs on all of these highways is going to skyrocket in the future, thus diverting resources away from other areas that could use expansion.
Also a fair point.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 13, 2021, 10:10:00 PM
Hopefully.

As most of us know, I've been a critic of WisDOT's lavish four lane expressway/freeway building mania for these reasons.

1. There is a lot of redundancy within the projects they've constructed. They could have saved money by figuring out years ago how to build one corridor that serves the purpose of two or more highways, thus saving on construction and maintenance costs. Examples include US 10/WIS 29, WIS 26/US 151, etc. WisDOT traffic projections for these projects have sometimes proven to be dubious.
What do you propose for a hybrid corridor of US-10 and WI-29? Something roughly along US-10 out of Stevens Point to WI-161, WI-22, WI-76, and WI-54 to WI-172 perhaps? But even then you're adding significant mileage, and no longer serving communities like Shawano and Waupaca.

Similar story with a WI-26 and US-151 hybrid. It wouldn't hit Milton, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Watertown, Sun Prairie, or Columbus, instead passing by smaller and fewer communities such as Cambridge and Waterloo.

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2. Some of the highways, such as WIS 23 and WIS 26, could have gotten away with cheaper 5 lane undivided highways as they serve more local traffic than regional.
I can't speak as much for the four-lane section of WI-26. But WI-23 between FDL and Plymouth serves lots of regional traffic. I'm not sure where you came up with the narrative that a busy route which only intersects county roads and driveways, and passes through no incorporated communities (on the section between FDL and Plymouth that was two lanes prior to this year) doesn't serve much regional traffic.

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3. The four lane highway building mania took the focus away from the Interstates, thus, there is a huge backlog of Interstate rebuilding/widening projects that are needed now.
This is a fair point, though it's not like WI is the only state with Interstates that need to be widened.

Quote
4. Maintenance costs on all of these highways is going to skyrocket in the future, thus diverting resources away from other areas that could use expansion.
Also a fair point.

1. WIS 29/US 10 could have been combined into a single corridor along the lines of what they were proposing in the 1960s with the routing of I-43, where roughly northwest of Manitowoc, it was to curve northwest and meet the present day I-41 at a point roughly halfway between Green Bay and Appleton. They could have used a modified version of that, perhaps starting just outside the Appleton city limits heading north. They still could have built the US 45 spur as well for the Oshkosh traffic, but since there is some redundancy with the present WIS 29/US 10 corridors, it would have been more economical to build one full freeway between the Green Bay/Fox Valley region and Wausau/Stevenís Point rather than the two hybrid freeway/free-flow expressways that exist today. Itís not like the area is booming enough where a few miles out of the way makes a difference, other states handle much worse situations fine.

2. Is there really enough traffic on WIS 23 to justify a full blown hybrid freeway/free-flow expressway? You do realize those are not cheap to build and maintain, shouldnít they be saved for the super regional routes (i.e, the backbone routes identified in the 2020 plan)?

3. Not all these routes are about connecting those communities you mentioned per say, itís about connecting things like Green Bay/Fox Valley region to Eau Claire and points west (US 10/WIS 29) and to Madison and points south (US 151). WIS 26 is redundant to US 151 because by four laning it, they are serving essentially the same purpose.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: thspfc on October 13, 2021, 10:25:57 PM
Hopefully.

As most of us know, I've been a critic of WisDOT's lavish four lane expressway/freeway building mania for these reasons.

1. There is a lot of redundancy within the projects they've constructed. They could have saved money by figuring out years ago how to build one corridor that serves the purpose of two or more highways, thus saving on construction and maintenance costs. Examples include US 10/WIS 29, WIS 26/US 151, etc. WisDOT traffic projections for these projects have sometimes proven to be dubious.
What do you propose for a hybrid corridor of US-10 and WI-29? Something roughly along US-10 out of Stevens Point to WI-161, WI-22, WI-76, and WI-54 to WI-172 perhaps? But even then you're adding significant mileage, and no longer serving communities like Shawano and Waupaca.

Similar story with a WI-26 and US-151 hybrid. It wouldn't hit Milton, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Watertown, Sun Prairie, or Columbus, instead passing by smaller and fewer communities such as Cambridge and Waterloo.

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2. Some of the highways, such as WIS 23 and WIS 26, could have gotten away with cheaper 5 lane undivided highways as they serve more local traffic than regional.
I can't speak as much for the four-lane section of WI-26. But WI-23 between FDL and Plymouth serves lots of regional traffic. I'm not sure where you came up with the narrative that a busy route which only intersects county roads and driveways, and passes through no incorporated communities (on the section between FDL and Plymouth that was two lanes prior to this year) doesn't serve much regional traffic.

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3. The four lane highway building mania took the focus away from the Interstates, thus, there is a huge backlog of Interstate rebuilding/widening projects that are needed now.
This is a fair point, though it's not like WI is the only state with Interstates that need to be widened.

Quote
4. Maintenance costs on all of these highways is going to skyrocket in the future, thus diverting resources away from other areas that could use expansion.
Also a fair point.

1. WIS 29/US 10 could have been combined into a single corridor along the lines of what they were proposing in the 1960s with the routing of I-43, where roughly northwest of Manitowoc, it was to curve northwest and meet the present day I-41 at a point roughly halfway between Green Bay and Appleton. They could have used a modified version of that, perhaps starting just outside the Appleton city limits heading north. They still could have built the US 45 spur as well for the Oshkosh traffic, but since there is some redundancy with the present WIS 29/US 10 corridors, it would have been more economical to build one full freeway between the Green Bay/Fox Valley region and Wausau/Stevenís Point rather than the two hybrid freeway/free-flow expressways that exist today. Itís not like the area is booming enough where a few miles out of the way makes a difference, other states handle much worse situations fine.

2. Is there really enough traffic on WIS 23 to justify a full blown hybrid freeway/free-flow expressway? You do realize those are not cheap to build and maintain, shouldnít they be saved for the super regional routes (i.e, the backbone routes identified in the 2020 plan)?

3. Not all these routes are about connecting those communities you mentioned per say, itís about connecting things like Green Bay/Fox Valley region to Eau Claire and points west (US 10/WIS 29) and to Madison and points south (US 151). WIS 26 is redundant to US 151 because by four laning it, they are serving essentially the same purpose.
As I mentioned, I'm not an expert on WI-26, but I believe that it's a much more local route than US-151 is. US-151 connects the Fox Valley and Madison, or further along, it connects the Fox Valley with Iowa and the I-80 corridor, and in turn the majority of the western part of the country. Nobody from Madison wants to drive 20+ extra miles in order to get to the Fox Valley; certainly none of the long-distance travelers do either. For that reason plus commuter traffic, if they were to have built a hybrid corridor, they would have needed to also build the US-151 expressway as it currently is between where it would connect at Beaver Dam and Madison. At that point, you may as well just build it along WI-26, as WI-26 directly connects the several sizeable communities it bypasses, whereas this hybird would not.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 13, 2021, 10:55:07 PM
As I mentioned, I'm not an expert on WI-26, but I believe that it's a much more local route than US-151 is. US-151 connects the Fox Valley and Madison, or further along, it connects the Fox Valley with Iowa and the I-80 corridor, and in turn the majority of the western part of the country. Nobody from Madison wants to drive 20+ extra miles in order to get to the Fox Valley; certainly none of the long-distance travelers do either. For that reason plus commuter traffic, if they were to have built a hybrid corridor, they would have needed to also build the US-151 expressway as it currently is between where it would connect at Beaver Dam and Madison. At that point, you may as well just build it along WI-26, as WI-26 directly connects the several sizeable communities it bypasses, whereas this hybird would not.

For the record, I wasnít proposing a hybrid corridor for US 151/WIS 26 in my post above, I was just giving an example of how both could, at least theoretically, serve the same purpose.

I think US 151 is fine as is (and is frankly at the point where it ought to be fully converted to freeway between Columbus and Waupun), but WIS 26 was massively overbuilt and passing lanes wouldíve been sufficient for the corridor. Ironically, the only portion where WIS 26 does need to be four lane divided freeway/expressway is from Waupun to Oshkosh, but WisDOT insisted on building US 151 to Fond du Lac, another strategic error IMO.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 13, 2021, 11:02:38 PM
The only ones left that is even worthy of a 4 lane expansion is US-51 between Tomahawk and Woodruff. And US-141 from Pound to Crivitz. The later is unlikely. Another longshot possibility would be US-12 from Madison to Cambridge or a 4 lane Whitewater bypass.

None of US 141 north of Abrams was truly needed. Outside of summers, it isnít really super busy. Passing lanes would have been sufficient. Even US 41 between Oconto and Peshtigo was a stretch, although at least that connects to a decent sized town in Marinette.

US 51 north of Tomahawk is fine. Other than summers, itís not really busy.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: dvferyance on October 14, 2021, 12:01:31 AM
The only ones left that is even worthy of a 4 lane expansion is US-51 between Tomahawk and Woodruff. And US-141 from Pound to Crivitz. The later is unlikely. Another longshot possibility would be US-12 from Madison to Cambridge or a 4 lane Whitewater bypass.

None of US 141 north of Abrams was truly needed. Outside of summers, it isnít really super busy. Passing lanes would have been sufficient. Even US 41 between Oconto and Peshtigo was a stretch, although at least that connects to a decent sized town in Marinette.

US 51 north of Tomahawk is fine. Other than summers, itís not really busy.
While Crivitz is a small town it's still of greater significance than Pound ending the 4 lane there seemed rather odd. One I thought of jsut now that could be a candidate is Hwy 16 between Oconomowoc and Watertown.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 14, 2021, 09:34:44 AM
With regards to WI-26, they should just relocate it to Dodge County A and develop that corridor as necessary, and then remove the portion that goes through Waupun and keep it on the US-151 highway.  Turn the former portions over to the county.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: invincor on October 14, 2021, 09:38:04 AM

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For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

Outside of the aforementioned and the Sauk City bypass, WIS 65/ 35 between Ellsworth and the N. Main St interchange in River Falls would be the big one that comes to mind for Western Wisco. Especially, given the rapid growth rate in the area... River Falls is few big box stores away from being full-on suburb at this point. IMHO

We lost our one big box store (a Shopko) just before the pandemic hit, and haven't had another one to replace it.

Traffic counts from River Falls to Ellsworth are nowhere near high enough to justify 4-laning WIS 65, and I don't think I'll ever live to see the time where they are.  Ellsworth just isn't big enough.  Certainly it's a busy road, but it's a steady busy and unlikely to get busier.


Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: mrose on October 14, 2021, 12:33:52 PM
Felt US 14 / WI 11 from Jville to I-43 should have been done 25 years ago. Not sure what that corridor is like now.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: skluth on October 14, 2021, 02:48:37 PM
The only way to think some of these corridors are somehow overbuilt is to never have driven anything bigger than your car.  You should give that a try sometime, it will change your perspective on a lot of things.

In the meantime, understand that many of these upgrades occur not in response to local demand or local traffic, but things like through truck traffic.  All of WI 26 between I-41 and Janesville carries a lot of truck traffic.  And that's the reason the entire thing between those points *should* be four lanes.  29 carries a lot of trucks from the Fox Valley over toward the Twin Cities and points west, hence those upgrades.  US 10 between I-41 and I-39, same thing.

There isnít that much truck traffic on Wi-26Öwhen compared to the interstate highways where the real issues exist.

There's more truck traffic than you might think. At least, there was the one time I drove WI 26 4-5 years ago. I thought it was great although dealing with the truck traffic along CTH A in Dodge County was a pain; CTH A is not built to handle the current traffic load from my perspective. It would be good to eliminate the lights near Janesville, but I didn't think the lights near I-94 were bad even with all the outlet stores.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: skluth on October 14, 2021, 03:08:29 PM
The only ones left that is even worthy of a 4 lane expansion is US-51 between Tomahawk and Woodruff. And US-141 from Pound to Crivitz. The later is unlikely. Another longshot possibility would be US-12 from Madison to Cambridge or a 4 lane Whitewater bypass.

None of US 141 north of Abrams was truly needed. Outside of summers, it isnít really super busy. Passing lanes would have been sufficient. Even US 41 between Oconto and Peshtigo was a stretch, although at least that connects to a decent sized town in Marinette.

US 51 north of Tomahawk is fine. Other than summers, itís not really busy.
While Crivitz is a small town it's still of greater significance than Pound ending the 4 lane there seemed rather odd. One I thought of jsut now that could be a candidate is Hwy 16 between Oconomowoc and Watertown.

The four-lane portion of US 141 ends at WI 64, not at Pound. WI 64 is an important corridor for the area, especially with westbound traffic going to White Potato Lake (traffic counts go down considerably west of WPL), Mountain, and points further northwest. WI 64 is an arbitrary crossroads, but traffic counts steadily go down the further north you drive on US 141 north of Abrams and the four lane portion could have as easily stopped at WI 22 or Lena.

The US 141/WI 64 crossroads used to have a lot of bad accidents because of all the vehicles towing campers and boats on both highways. (My grandparents lived in Coleman and both came from large families in rural Marinette County. I practically lived in the area every summer in the 60's.) I can see why they wanted to build a full interchange there even with the relatively low traffic counts. Four lanes north of WI 22 was probably unneeded, but I can see the need for the US 141/WI 64 interchange.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 14, 2021, 03:12:09 PM
Felt US 14 / WI 11 from Jville to I-43 should have been done 25 years ago. Not sure what that corridor is like now.



Busy but manageable with two lanes.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: on_wisconsin on October 14, 2021, 04:34:04 PM

Quote
For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

Outside of the aforementioned and the Sauk City bypass, WIS 65/ 35 between Ellsworth and the N. Main St interchange in River Falls would be the big one that comes to mind for Western Wisco. Especially, given the rapid growth rate in the area... River Falls is few big box stores away from being full-on suburb at this point. IMHO

We lost our one big box store (a Shopko) just before the pandemic hit, and haven't had another one to replace it.

Shopko's demised had nothing to do with the River Falls location, the whole chain went bust. Its probably just a matter of time before WalmartTargetFarmFleetFarmKohls builds a store in town. 16K'ish pop is usually too many for one (or more) of them to resist.

Quote
Traffic counts from River Falls to Ellsworth are nowhere near high enough to justify 4-laning WIS 65, and I don't think I'll ever live to see the time where they are.  Ellsworth just isn't big enough.  Certainly it's a busy road, but it's a steady busy and unlikely to get busier.

Strongly disagree that the WIS 65 corridor is not going to continue to grow, barring another '08 style crash or worse. Especially, with the tremendous housing shortage going on throughout the metro.

The stretch between the two towns is a cluster with Beldenville and the countless intersections and driveways. Varying terrain and the number of curves with poor sight-lines is another factor. Also, the highway carries a somewhat decent number of super commuters coming from points south and east of Ellsworth. Throw in the usual truck and farm traffic to go along with it as well.

The River Falls bypass should have been upgraded to a duel-carriageway twenty years ago. :wave:

(But WisDOT will likely continue to let the area roads get overrun with only minimal token upgrades while they gleefully add a third lane to Highway 26... /snark)
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: Revive 755 on October 14, 2021, 10:50:55 PM
Felt US 14 / WI 11 from Jville to I-43 should have been done 25 years ago. Not sure what that corridor is like now.



Busy but manageable with two lanes.

As long as no one is going 10 or more under speed limit.  That stretch of 14 needs a few passing lanes at least.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: coolkevs on October 15, 2021, 12:10:50 AM
Felt US 14 / WI 11 from Jville to I-43 should have been done 25 years ago. Not sure what that corridor is like now.



Busy but manageable with two lanes.

As long as no one is going 10 or more under speed limit.  That stretch of 14 needs a few passing lanes at least.

I remember seeing this as a high priority corridor on the Corridors 2020 maps - maybe it will get some more attention when 39/90 expansion is finished.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 15, 2021, 08:18:48 AM
Felt US 14 / WI 11 from Jville to I-43 should have been done 25 years ago. Not sure what that corridor is like now.



Busy but manageable with two lanes.

As long as no one is going 10 or more under speed limit.  That stretch of 14 needs a few passing lanes at least.

I remember seeing this as a high priority corridor on the Corridors 2020 maps - maybe it will get some more attention when 39/90 expansion is finished.


It was not originally a high priority when Corridors 2020 was initiated.  The link above shows that.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: invincor on October 15, 2021, 04:32:59 PM

Quote
For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

Outside of the aforementioned and the Sauk City bypass, WIS 65/ 35 between Ellsworth and the N. Main St interchange in River Falls would be the big one that comes to mind for Western Wisco. Especially, given the rapid growth rate in the area... River Falls is few big box stores away from being full-on suburb at this point. IMHO

We lost our one big box store (a Shopko) just before the pandemic hit, and haven't had another one to replace it.

Shopko's demised had nothing to do with the River Falls location, the whole chain went bust. Its probably just a matter of time before WalmartTargetFarmFleetFarmKohls builds a store in town. 16K'ish pop is usually too many for one (or more) of them to resist.

Quote
Traffic counts from River Falls to Ellsworth are nowhere near high enough to justify 4-laning WIS 65, and I don't think I'll ever live to see the time where they are.  Ellsworth just isn't big enough.  Certainly it's a busy road, but it's a steady busy and unlikely to get busier.

Strongly disagree that the WIS 65 corridor is not going to continue to grow, barring another '08 style crash or worse. Especially, with the tremendous housing shortage going on throughout the metro.

The stretch between the two towns is a cluster with Beldenville and the countless intersections and driveways. Varying terrain and the number of curves with poor sight-lines is another factor. Also, the highway carries a somewhat decent number of super commuters coming from points south and east of Ellsworth. Throw in the usual truck and farm traffic to go along with it as well.

The River Falls bypass should have been upgraded to a duel-carriageway twenty years ago. :wave:

(But WisDOT will likely continue to let the area roads get overrun with only minimal token upgrades while they gleefully add a third lane to Highway 26... /snark)


Yes, I know why Shopko died, but I still donít agree that weíre going to get another big box store to replace it because those are just not going to be getting built anything like they were before because of the rise of online shopping.  The Shopko building is being turned into a craft brewery right now.

The only expansion of the highway I can ever see happening is maybe, maybe expanding the four-lane south to the Hwy 29 junction.  The road cut through the hill was built wide enough to accommodate that.

There is absolutely no local clamor for expanding the 4-lane to Ellsworth. 

Personally, Iíd rather see money of that type be spent in expanding I-94 to six lanes from Hwy 12 exit 4 east to at least Eau Claire.  Thatís far, far more necessary than doing any more 4-laning of the state highways over here.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: msunat97 on October 16, 2021, 08:51:46 AM
I love driving the WI-26 4-lane when headed south from the Fox Valley area.  I wish they would bypass Rosendale, but it won't happen.  It's a great alternative to the interstate and a nice easy drive.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: skluth on October 17, 2021, 05:05:06 PM
I love driving the WI-26 4-lane when headed south from the Fox Valley area.  I wish they would bypass Rosendale, but it won't happen.  It's a great alternative to the interstate and a nice easy drive.

I used to enjoy going through Rosendale back in the day. It was a great halfway point to stop and have a beer between GB and Madison. Now it's just a lousy collection of convenience pit stops with an overaggressive speed trap.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: I-39 on October 17, 2021, 05:46:40 PM
I will say this, in addition to improving the Interstates, there are two things I think do need to happen in the next 10-15 years.

1. The Madison to Fond du Lac section of US 151 needs go full freeway. Itís time to initiate a large scale freeway conversion along this corridor like US 41 in the 1990s.

2. While not as big of a priority as above, the eastern portion of WIS 29 from Wausau to Green Bay should be considered for full freeway conversion. There seems to be more and more little projects popping up along here so maybe itís time to consider biting the bullet and going full freeway. Only after the Interstates and the above US 151 project is taken care of though.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: SEWIGuy on October 17, 2021, 06:02:08 PM

Quote
For those more familiar with Wisconsin as a whole, are there still corridors that urgently need to be 4-laned?

Outside of the aforementioned and the Sauk City bypass, WIS 65/ 35 between Ellsworth and the N. Main St interchange in River Falls would be the big one that comes to mind for Western Wisco. Especially, given the rapid growth rate in the area... River Falls is few big box stores away from being full-on suburb at this point. IMHO

We lost our one big box store (a Shopko) just before the pandemic hit, and haven't had another one to replace it.

Shopko's demised had nothing to do with the River Falls location, the whole chain went bust. Its probably just a matter of time before WalmartTargetFarmFleetFarmKohls builds a store in town. 16K'ish pop is usually too many for one (or more) of them to resist.

Quote
Traffic counts from River Falls to Ellsworth are nowhere near high enough to justify 4-laning WIS 65, and I don't think I'll ever live to see the time where they are.  Ellsworth just isn't big enough.  Certainly it's a busy road, but it's a steady busy and unlikely to get busier.

Strongly disagree that the WIS 65 corridor is not going to continue to grow, barring another '08 style crash or worse. Especially, with the tremendous housing shortage going on throughout the metro.

The stretch between the two towns is a cluster with Beldenville and the countless intersections and driveways. Varying terrain and the number of curves with poor sight-lines is another factor. Also, the highway carries a somewhat decent number of super commuters coming from points south and east of Ellsworth. Throw in the usual truck and farm traffic to go along with it as well.

The River Falls bypass should have been upgraded to a duel-carriageway twenty years ago. :wave:

(But WisDOT will likely continue to let the area roads get overrun with only minimal token upgrades while they gleefully add a third lane to Highway 26... /snark)


Yes, I know why Shopko died, but I still donít agree that weíre going to get another big box store to replace it because those are just not going to be getting built anything like they were before because of the rise of online shopping.  The Shopko building is being turned into a craft brewery right now.

The only expansion of the highway I can ever see happening is maybe, maybe expanding the four-lane south to the Hwy 29 junction.  The road cut through the hill was built wide enough to accommodate that.

There is absolutely no local clamor for expanding the 4-lane to Ellsworth. 

Personally, Iíd rather see money of that type be spent in expanding I-94 to six lanes from Hwy 12 exit 4 east to at least Eau Claire.  Thatís far, far more necessary than doing any more 4-laning of the state highways over here.


Other big box stores aren't likely to use old Shopko sites.  They are generally too small for a Target or a Wal-Mart.  Furthermore, many of the buildings are pretty old meaning they would need extensive renovation.

Many will be used for other purposes.  (One in Green Bay is being used as a light manufacturing facility.)  And many will sit empty for years.  I guess a few will become dollar stores or something similar.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: hobsini2 on October 17, 2021, 07:10:32 PM
The expressway list is likely done in Wisconsin for a while. However, there are still some places that could use a 4 lane highway. These would be ones I would consider soon.
1. Wis 21 I-90/94 Tomah to Oshkosh (4 lanes divided but not expressway mostly). I would propose a connection to the I-90/94 split junction. I would have new terrain bypasses of Necedah, Wautoma, Redgranite and Omro.
2. US 8
    A. I-35 (in MN) to St Croix Falls (4 lanes but not expressway)
    B. Wis 35 (East Jct) to US 53 Cameron (4 lanes but not expressway)
    C. US 51 near Tomahwak to Rhinelander (4 lanes but not expressway)

The rest of the list I will post later. I got to go to a meeting.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: triplemultiplex on October 18, 2021, 03:04:24 PM
The Shopko building is being turned into a craft brewery right now.

Progress!


    C. US 51 near Tomahwak to Rhinelander (4 lanes but not expressway)

Did you mean US 8 or Minocqua? ;)



Regarding US 14 east of Janesville, I suspect the new interchange design at I-39/90 and I-43 is in part to encourage traffic to slide down to Beloit to get to I-43 rather than using US 14.  The relevant ramps are very generous in their geometry.  Once that's all done, I'd be interested in seeing the difference in travel time between any point in Janesville west of the interstate and exit 15 on I-43.  I suspect it'll be close to a wash.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: JREwing78 on October 18, 2021, 07:44:23 PM
Regarding US 14 east of Janesville, I suspect the new interchange design at I-39/90 and I-43 is in part to encourage traffic to slide down to Beloit to get to I-43 rather than using US 14.  The relevant ramps are very generous in their geometry.  Once that's all done, I'd be interested in seeing the difference in travel time between any point in Janesville west of the interstate and exit 15 on I-43.  I suspect it'll be close to a wash.

There's also the whole Interstate-to-Interstate interchange thing, or at least that's what WisDOT cited when they designed the I-39/90 / I-43 interchange. Basically, for safety reasons they designed it to be taken at highway speeds.

You are probably correct about travel times being negligible following US-14 east of Janesville v.s. I-39/90 to I-43, at least the way Google Maps calculates it. But it's an additional 8 miles, and even after construction is over most locals (including me) headed east to catch I-43 would rather take US-14 because it's more predictable, unless there's inclement weather (US-14 drifts bad between Hwy 89 and Janesville).

WisDOT has resisted adding passing lanes to US-14 in either direction from Janesville. It's not exactly a simple task; the 4-mile 2-lane stretch between County O and Hwy 140 has a lot of residences and farms right up close to the roadway, plus it goes through Emerald Grove.  The passing lanes would have to go in just east of the Hwy 140 intersection to make any sense, but that's after considerable traffic turns off at Hwy 140, so it's less effective.

So, yeah, I see WisDOT's thinking in encouraging traffic to stay on the Interstates. But being a local who knows the area pretty well, I'm probably going to stick to the County roads to get over to I-43.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: hobsini2 on October 23, 2021, 06:16:47 PM
The Shopko building is being turned into a craft brewery right now.

Progress!


    C. US 51 near Tomahwak to Rhinelander (4 lanes but not expressway)

Did you mean US 8 or Minocqua? ;)



Regarding US 14 east of Janesville, I suspect the new interchange design at I-39/90 and I-43 is in part to encourage traffic to slide down to Beloit to get to I-43 rather than using US 14.  The relevant ramps are very generous in their geometry.  Once that's all done, I'd be interested in seeing the difference in travel time between any point in Janesville west of the interstate and exit 15 on I-43.  I suspect it'll be close to a wash.


If you notice, that was 3 different sections of US 8. A, B and C.
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: midwesternroadguy on November 26, 2021, 06:19:07 AM
I still say that US 14 both directions out of Madison needs improvement.  From Oregon to Evansville the corridor is busy with commuter traffic on a daily basis.  Utilizing the already-acquired corridor to STH 92 would help.

US 14 west of Middleton has been busy for 40 years.  Try finding a gap in traffic to pass a vehicle particularly east of Cross Plains, much less the fatal crashes.  Four-laning to Cross Plains is a No Brainer.  Four-laning to Black Earth or Mazomanie is worthy of consideration.  Granted these communities arenít seeing the explosive growth seen in other detached Madison suburbs such as DeForest/Windsor, Cottage Grove, Oregon, or even Mt. Horeb.  Additional improvements to Richland Center may be warranted, although the few newer passing lanes between Arena and Gotham help. 
Title: Re: The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?
Post by: triplemultiplex on November 29, 2021, 05:01:28 PM
It would be like pulling teeth to get 4 lanes on US 14 out to Cross Plains.  That's all headwaters for Black Earth Creek; a highly-regarded trout stream in the region with loads of people willing to go to the mat to obstruct further development in that direction.
Anything that would come to fruition would be far less than the standard rural Wisconsin expressway we're all used to in order to minimize r/w and encroachment on public lands flanking the existing highway.