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The end of new large 4 lane expansion projects in Wisconsin?

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peterj920:
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 doesn’t 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 “backbone routes” by slowly converting existing expressways to freeways or adding lanes to existing freeways.

JoePCool14:
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?

I-39:
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.

on_wisconsin:

--- Quote from: 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.

--- End quote ---

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)       


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

--- End quote ---

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

SEWIGuy:

--- Quote from: 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.

--- End quote ---

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.

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