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Author Topic: Wisconsin notes  (Read 429421 times)

mgk920

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Wisconsin notes
« on: May 30, 2012, 02:33:31 AM »

A few notes from a daytrip around the state on Monday (2012-05-28):

-Weather was warm and humid and, much to my chagrin, I found out that my car's air conditioner had lost its cool.

:-o

I survived with the sunroof open and so forth and the car goes in for service in a couple of days.

-Nothing really new of note in the US 41 Construction Geek Zone™ in the Oshkosh area.

-Dodge County 'A' running southward from US 151 by the Walmart* distribution center on the northeast edge of Beaver Dam ('Beaver Darn'?) was massively rebuilt and concrete paved over the past couple of years and looks nicer than similarly-rebuilt state highways - it is a FANTASTIC road!  The southernmost part of County 'A' near WI 26 southwest of Juneau is closed for upgrades right now.  The WI 33/County 'A' intersection just east of Beaver Dam was not rebuilt and since its traffic control is a four-way STOP, I'm sensing that WisDOT may be wanting to redo that intersection as a roundabout.  Even though County 'A' is a great alternative to existing WI 26 between WI 16/60 and US 151 and could well be a worthy new routing for it, IMHO it is not in the ideal location to be a permanent WI 26, which should ultimately feed into US 151 on Beaver Dam's southeast corner.

-The southernmost part of the WI 26 Watertown bypass freeway is complete and open northwards to the first interchange for the city.  Local roads and streets in the area are now being reconfigured for the new bypass and the remainder of this bypass appears to be on-track for opening sometime this fall.  Roundabouts are present in abundance, too, at Watertown.

-The WI 26 bridge over the railroad immediately south of Johnson Creek is complete and open.  Its north end almost looks to align in a way that would have it seamlessly feeding into a potential eastside Johnson Creek bypass.

-The WI 26 Fort Atkinson bypass four lane upgrade (from a 'Super Two') is complete and looks very nice.

-Grading/earthworks for the WI 26 Milton, WI bypass is well under way and several bridges are in various stages of construction.  The north end of this bypass will feed into existing WI 26 at County 'NN' (a WI 26 'old road') and some signs of the wider ROW are visible along WI 26 from there to the Fort Atkinson bypass section.

-The Ice Age National Scenic Trail http://www.iceagetrail.org is marked on sidewalks along existing WI 26 in Milton.

-At least one interchange and additional crossroad overcrossing are under construction on the section of WI 26 from the Milton bypass into the City of Janesville.  The condition of the land and buildings, including an aging motel, on the east side of WI 26 running northwards from I-39/90 in Janesville almost makes me think that WisDOT may have plans for that area.

-It seems like nearly half of the interchanges along WI 26 from Watertown to I-39/90 are for 'BUSINESS WI 26'.  There are WI 26 business routes in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson and Watertown.

-Once four lanes on WI 26 are completed, it will make a great road for someone to videotape.

-Washington St (US 151) is being repaved from I-39/90/94 to Portage Rd in Madison.  Ditto University Ave from the Hill Farms area to the Madison city limits.

-When did all of the gas stations in the Madison area start requiring their cash customers to pay for their fuel before they pump it?  That's the only place in the state that I know of where that is generally the case.

-That new 345 KV power line that is under construction along the Madison Beltline is very impressive!

Mike
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 11:07:15 AM by mgk920 »
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 10:03:57 AM »

The WI-26 bridges just south of Johnson Creek fully opened for the first time just last Friday.
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hobsini2

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 01:13:54 PM »

County A in Dodge Co is probably my fav back road way to get to my grandmother's house in Princeton from Chicago. I agree it should be a 3di state highway due to the traffic.
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JREwing78

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 03:31:37 PM »

WI-26 and County A in Dodge Co. could easily be flip-flopped, and WI-49 brought south over the old WI-26 routing. It would make for a lot less new 4-lane highway when it's extended to US-151.

I was up that way on WI-26 a week ago. Still annoyed that the freeway stretches don't merit a 65mph speed limit yet - it's a bona-fide speed trap the entire way. I can understand 55mph coming into and heading north of Johnson Creek, at least until the Watertown bypass is completed. But there's no reason other than revenue enhancement for 55mph on a rural freeway.
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Jordanah1

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 06:03:13 PM »

is there anything buzzing around the WISDOT about extending a 4lane WI 26 all the way to any point along US 151? i would think they would at least have something in their plans and projects, but i havent been able to find anything. also im wondering if they have any plans for widening US41 along the north side of the Fox Valley to Green bay. does anyone have anything on either of these?
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mgk920

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 07:33:16 PM »

is there anything buzzing around the WISDOT about extending a 4lane WI 26 all the way to any point along US 151? i would think they would at least have something in their plans and projects, but i havent been able to find anything. also im wondering if they have any plans for widening US41 along the north side of the Fox Valley to Green bay. does anyone have anything on either of these?

I recall hearing some chatter within the past year or so about WisDOT being in the earliest stages of starting to study WI 26 north of WI 60, the planned north end of the current four lane upgrade projects.  It's not like they're not aware of the situation on that part of WI 26, I've been prodding them on it :poke: since at least the early 1990s.

One thought about WI 26 between US 151 and I-39/90 that I had while driving it Monday that I have not had before is that it is starting to have a 'feel' to me that is a lot like US 10 between Appleton and Stevens Point.

Also, it is my expectation that WisDOT will begin studying the remaining four-lane section of US 41 (I-xx) between WI 15 at Appleton and Scheuring Rd in De Pere once the current six-lane upgrade projects are complete.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 07:39:13 PM by mgk920 »
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 05:02:34 PM »


-When did all of the gas stations in the Madison area start requiring their cash customers to pay for their fuel before they pump it?  That's the only place in the state that I know of where that is generally the case.

That's par for the course in Milwaukee.  I swipe the debit card at the pump and avoid that hassle.  I guess they had a spike in drive-offs in Mad Town or something.
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gbgoose

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 10:48:11 AM »

I did a trip on Tuesday to the Wausau / Stevens Point / Wis. Rapids area on Wednesday.  This is one of my favorite routes - and if I had more time, I would have gone out to Eau Claire.  A few things of note with construction:

-I-39 / 51 - resurfacing job around Stevens Point looks to be near completion

-Hwy 29 interchange - Wausau / Chippewa Falls - those in the Green Bay area can look to that interchange to see how 29-41 will be set up over the next few years. 

-In Green Bay - the 41-Mason St construction appears ahead of schedule
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texaskdog

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 10:49:13 AM »


-When did all of the gas stations in the Madison area start requiring their cash customers to pay for their fuel before they pump it?  That's the only place in the state that I know of where that is generally the case.

That's par for the course in Milwaukee.  I swipe the debit card at the pump and avoid that hassle.  I guess they had a spike in drive-offs in Mad Town or something.

Everywhere in Texas is prepay.  Hated working at the gas station in Minnesota & having to deal with driveoffs.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 11:31:27 AM »

I always find it unusual if a gas pump is not prepay.  Most of the time, I pay with a credit card outside at the pump, but if there is no card reader, I walk in and am always surprised if they tell me to go ahead and pump and come back and pay.  I always expect them to take and run my card indoors first, before turning the pump on.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 09:08:03 PM »

I drove WI 26 from I-94 to US 18 last weekend and I'd agree the 55 MPH is a little frustrating.  If WisDOT hasn't posted it 65 with both Ft. Atkinson and Jefferson done, they're probably not going to until it's complete to Janesville if at all.  It's nice that WisDOT will have a better alternative for the next time the Rock River floods out I-94.

It's kind of fun driving a new highway with a GPS:


Johnson Creek is going to become a tempting speed trap for the next couple decades.
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JREwing78

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2012, 02:27:05 PM »

I was always a bit astounded at how low the Rock River bridges on I-94 are. The ones over the Rock on I-39/90 are at least 40 feet above the river.

The lack of height over the isthmus between Upper and Lower Nemahbin Lakes near Delafield surprised me too; somehow, i don't that one's as subject to flooding as the Rock River near Johnson Creek.

WI-26, once completed, will pull a lot of traffic away from using I-39/90 to US-151 (or I-43 to US-45 to US-41), moreso if it doesn't become known as a 60-mile long speed trap.
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DaBigE

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2012, 07:01:32 PM »

I was always a bit astounded at how low the Rock River bridges on I-94 are. The ones over the Rock on I-39/90 are at least 40 feet above the river.

IIRC, one of the two bridges was part of the original highway (Wis 30?).  When I-94 came through, they tacked on the bridge next to it.  I assume since that area doesn't see flooding on a regular basis, they decided to install the new bridge at roughly the same elevation to save a lot of earthwork/$$, (not to mention keep it from looking funny with bridges at two different heights).
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tchafe1978

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2012, 09:30:21 PM »

^^
The eastbound bridge is a few feet higher than the westbound bridge over both the Rock River and the Crawfish River. That is one reason why during the flooding of 2008, they had to close the westbound side and have bidirectional traffic in the eastbound lanes for those few miles over the bridges. This was done after deciding that this was a preferable alternative to the detour, which was to take I-39/90 to Beloit, then I-43 to Milwaukee, and vice versa to westbound. There was really no other way around the flooded Rock River, as all the other crossings along the river were pretty much flooded out as well.
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DaBigE

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2012, 11:29:02 PM »

^^
The eastbound bridge is a few feet higher than the westbound bridge over both the Rock River and the Crawfish River. That is one reason why during the flooding of 2008, they had to close the westbound side and have bidirectional traffic in the eastbound lanes for those few miles over the bridges. This was done after deciding that this was a preferable alternative to the detour, which was to take I-39/90 to Beloit, then I-43 to Milwaukee, and vice versa to westbound. There was really no other way around the flooded Rock River, as all the other crossings along the river were pretty much flooded out as well.

I remember that flooding quite well.  I remember it being a PITA to get from Madison to anywhere north or east in the state, as there were spotty closures along US 151 as well as other state routes east of Madison.  I remember the loaded highway trucks that they parked on the WB bridge to weigh it down any hopefully prevent the river current from washing it into the EB bridge.
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on_wisconsin

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2012, 10:53:39 PM »

- Washington St East Washington Ave (US 151) is being repaved from I-39/90/94 to Portage Rd in Madison. 
fixed it for ya

A few cell phone pics from a quick road geek trip around Madtown:

The new US 14/ Lacy Rd interchange is finally taking shape after the original contractor went out of business:




The MUCH needed University Ave rebuild is well underway:




Finally, these have been popping up like weeds around Downtown in the last few weeks:
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 11:10:19 PM by on_wisconsin »
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twinsfan87

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2012, 10:56:52 PM »

Oh man, it's really good that section of University Ave is being redone. I remember driving over that section from Old Middleton Rd to west of Whitney Way and wondering if my car would make it through in one piece!
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DaBigE

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2012, 09:31:24 AM »

The MUCH needed University Ave rebuild is well underway:

There's an understatement. I bet the Midas (or CarX I forget which one is there), probably won't like the downturn in business caused by damage from that road.

Finally, these have been popping up like weeds around Downtown in the last few weeks:

If I heard correctly, those are part of the mayor's initiative to try to keep more taxis off of State St. The cab companies claim that driving that street is the only way to get the bar-time business, even though the ordinances state they can be on that street only for an active pick-up or drop-off and not the general roaming they have been accustomed to lately.

On a slightly different note--anyone notice how Madison seems to love to create their own symbols and arrows, often when FHWA or WisDOT has already done the work for them? (Not that the taxi is all that bad, nor could I find a pre-existing one in the SHSM book). I've just never quite understood their infatuation with always showing a helmet-wearing person on a bike instead of the standard bike symbol. Similarly, how they still use their own version of the trail crossing sign, even after FHWA created the W11-15.
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Milepost61

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2012, 11:26:42 PM »

Denver created its on trail crossing sign, too (back in the '90s I think). It had the person on top and bike on the bottom with a horizontal line all the way across the diamond.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2012, 10:33:32 AM »

The WI-26 Watertown bypass will apparently open on Friday, July 6.
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jwags

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2012, 08:18:55 PM »

The WI-26 Watertown bypass will apparently open on Friday, July 6.

It will have a 65 MPH speed limit compared to the 55 in Jefferson and Fort Atkinson.

Here are some photos I took today of the new bypass as well as a couple other photos.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3273379673206.2124981.1228843089&type=3&l=47da28b1ee
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 08:37:46 PM by J-Wags »
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2012, 08:58:18 PM »

The WI-26 Watertown bypass will apparently open on Friday, July 6.

It will have a 65 MPH speed limit compared to the 55 in Jefferson and Fort Atkinson.

Here are some photos I took today of the new bypass as well as a couple other photos.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3273379673206.2124981.1228843089&type=3&l=47da28b1ee


That annoys me to no end.  When this is all done, it should be 65 mph the entire stretch except for around Johnson Creek.
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Jordanah1

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2012, 09:55:28 PM »

The WI-26 Watertown bypass will apparently open on Friday, July 6.

It will have a 65 MPH speed limit compared to the 55 in Jefferson and Fort Atkinson.

Here are some photos I took today of the new bypass as well as a couple other photos.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3273379673206.2124981.1228843089&type=3&l=47da28b1ee


That annoys me to no end.  When this is all done, it should be 65 mph the entire stretch except for around Johnson Creek.
johnson creek should e bypassed too.
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jwags

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2012, 10:38:14 PM »

The WI-26 Watertown bypass will apparently open on Friday, July 6.

It will have a 65 MPH speed limit compared to the 55 in Jefferson and Fort Atkinson.

Here are some photos I took today of the new bypass as well as a couple other photos.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3273379673206.2124981.1228843089&type=3&l=47da28b1ee


That annoys me to no end.  When this is all done, it should be 65 mph the entire stretch except for around Johnson Creek.

I agree but at what annoys me most is Watertown's other "bypass" is only 45!  That one should be at least 55, it is a super 2 bypass.
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SSOWorld

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Re: Wisconsin notes
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2012, 11:48:11 PM »

That's Wisconsin for ya - the US 8 bypass around Rhinelander was 55 when installed, but they cut it to 45 because it got traffic lights
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