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The Case for an I-94 rebuild and expansion between Madison and Milwaukee

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I-94 between Madison and Milwaukee will most likely be the worst stretch of interstate highway in the state once the I-43 project north of Milwaukee is complete. The road bed is mostly shot and the road constantly needs to be resurfaced since the blacktop doesnít last long. Most of the bridges are old and crumbling. An emergency bridge replacement of Elmhurst Rd is taking place since concrete was falling from the bridge and nets were being used to help catch falling concrete.

The Interchanges are severely outdated especially County C in Delafield and Wis 89 in Lake Mills. There are no turn lanes and the tight ramps/narrow lanes through the interchange show the outdated design.

Traffic is heavy since I-94 connects Wisconsinís 2 largest cities and any lane closure or minor accident will cause massive backups. A 3rd lane in each direction is badly needed.

Instead of funding an uninspiring major project like rebuilding a 2 lane US 51 from Stoughton to Madison, WISDOT should take a larger look at this busy interstate corridor thatís falling apart.

I would add that I-41 expansion between Appleton and Green Bay is probably just as important as this.

But you are right.  This is why all the new corridor development annoys me, because this should be rebuilt and expanded to six lanes for the entire stretch for all of the reasons you indicate.  This is where resources should be directed.

I-39 between Stevens Point and near Rothschild is worse in terms of road quality, but it's not as busy as I-94 between Madison and Milwaukee.

You could probably justify in the not too distant future a 4th lane between I-39/90 and Hwy N in Cottage Grove as well since that part of Dane County is growing a lot.  It already is 6 lanes for that stretch.

From the discussion on their projects page, it sounds like a 6-laning of I-94 is at least 20 years off. It didn't help that the planned commuter rail line between Milwaukee and Madison was abruptly canceled; I suspect WisDOT's calculations when they were long-term planning Interstate rebuilds were anticipating the commuter rail line easing traffic levels and forestalling the need for a widening. I also suspect they are trying to ensure they can fund the I-94 widening east of the Zoo interchange when it's finally approved.

Also unspoken: the gas tax rate freeze is not helping matters; another 10 cents per gallon would allow a lot of projects to move forward.


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