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Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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The Connector - December 2013

Note from the Secretary

Tribal Transportation Conference

Stay in your vehicle

Frozen roads allow heavier loads


Note from the Secretary

By WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, P.E.

At the Wisconsin DOT, we are truly thankful for all of you — the dedicated public and private professionals who help keep our comprehensive transportation system moving forward. As we look back at the year 2013, we can point to many successes.

  • We’re wrapping up another successful construction season. This includes over one $1 billion in state road and bridge contracts, and continued investments in local roads, railways, waterways, public transit, bike and pedestrian facilities. We look forward to a similarly robust transportation program for 2014.
  • Our MAPSS Performance Improvement Program is helping us track and get the most from existing transportation revenues. We appreciate the many partners who are working with us to implement innovative technologies and practices that help us improve quality and reduce cost.
  • Traffic fatalities are at historic lows. More motorists than ever before are buckling-up, driving sober and alert. But we won’t be satisfied until we attain our goal of zero preventable deaths on Wisconsin roads. Each of us must make a personal commitment to highway safety every day, every trip.

As I travel the state over the upcoming months, I hope to meet and talk with many of you to build on these and other successes, and discuss pressing transportation challenges. Again, thanks for being among our valued transportation partners. From all of us at the Wisconsin DOT, we wish you Happy Holidays, and a safe and prosperous New Year.


Tribal Transportation Conference

Secretary Gottlieb speaking at Wisconsin Tribal Transportatin ConferenceThis week, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), along with the College of the Menominee Nation, hosted the annual Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Conference. Among the many topics presented during this year’s event, sessions included a focus on how to do business with the state, which is committed to providing partnerships and networking with the state’s 11 Indian Tribes.

About 150 tribal, state, federal and construction professionals participated in the conference. During the general session, Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer, WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson, Todd Kennedy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and WisDOT Tribal Liaison Kelly Jackson welcomed attendees.

Secretary Gottlieb highlighted the many tribal accomplishments carried out by WisDOT over the last year, some of which included:

  • Through the current federal transportation bill, MAP-21, which created the new Tribal Transportation Program, several million dollars were set aside for Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funds.
  • The 2013-14 Tribal Transportation Safety Project will continue to examine statewide tribal crash data and look to identify areas that would benefit from highway safety improvement projects.
  • The approved Native American Hiring Provision, in consultation with tribal governments, led to a pilot project on WIS 47 in Lac du Flambeau.
  • The Tribal Labor Advisory Committee was sustained. The committee is a stakeholder group created to provide guidance to WisDOT on strategies to enhance Native American labor opportunities on WisDOT projects.
  • Six WisDOT Intertribal Task Force meetings were held throughout the state.
  • An intergovernmental agreement was established with the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Historic Preservation Office to fund the Tribal Historic Preservation Project.
  • Funding was secured for two National Summer Transportation Institute programs, supported in part by the Federal Highway Administration.
  • A pilot training session on FDM 26 (Cultural Resource Preservation) was successfully conducted.
  • Eight tribes were engaged in an overview and strategic planning meeting to explore the integration of tribal roads into the state mapping system. Additionally, tribal law enforcement was involved in TrACS 10 to increase their access to critical safety data and funding opportunities.
  • An exploratory meeting was held with the Lac du Flambeau Band and Lac Courte Oreilles Band leaders and roads programs to examine tribes’ capacity and discuss WisDOT maintenance activities.
  • Child Safety Seat Awards were presented to Red Cliff, St. Croix Tribal Health, Ho Chunk Nation and Bad River Health and Wellness. Child safety seats were distributed with Lac Courtes Oreilles, Bad River and Ho-Chunk in September 2013.
  • Tribal representation is included on the Governor’s Council on Highway Safety, Traffic Records Coordinating Committee, Strategic Highway Safety Planning Team and the OWI Task Force.
  • All 11 tribes received WisDOT funding through the Tribal Elder Transportation Grant Program, and six tribes received state and federal transit operating assistance.
  • Access to the new Red Cliff Health Center on WIS 13 was increased, and an erosion control project between WIS 13 and Lake Superior was coordinated.
  • Safety improvements on area state highways were coordinated with the St. Croix Tribe and Ho-Chunk Nation. WisDOT provided assistance to the Menominee Nation in development of a grant application for a safety improvement project, as part of the new BIA Tribal Transportation Safety Fund. The application was a success, receiving the second largest grant award in the country.
  • In Winnebago County, the Lake Butte des Morts Causeway Project was completed in November 2013, featuring design work by a Native American architect and trail markers honoring each of the 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin. In Brown County, there are five project locations incorporating design treatments developed by Oneida artists.

WisDOT looks forward to continued dialogue and partnerships with the 11 Tribes. Additional information is available online.

Stay in your vehicle

car stuck in snowAs motorists adjust to winter-driving, the Wisconsin State Patrol is advising motorists that should your vehicle become stranded or slide-off a slippery roadway, it’s best to stay inside your vehicle, keep your seat belt on, and wait for help to arrive. Before calling 911, be ready to provide the emergency dispatcher as much information as possible regarding your location. Staying buckled up inside your vehicle offers protection from the weather, but also from other vehicles that might spin out of control and crash into you. If you need to idle your vehicle’s engine for warmth, make sure the exhaust pipe is unblocked. Additional information can be found on the WisDOT web site.


Frozen roads allow heavier loads

timber truckColder temperatures mean Wisconsin’s Frozen Road Law can be phased in as ground under pavement freezes to sufficient depths. WisDOT stays in close contact with trucking industry partners, and updated information on the law can also be found on the WisDOT web site or by calling the frozen road phone line (608) 266-8417. A frozen road declaration allows heavier loads for trucks carrying salt and sand for winter maintenance, along with certain forest products once ground under highway pavement is frozen to a depth of at least 18-inches. Effective this winter season, new boundaries have been established for four of the state’s five frost zones that more accurately reflect typical weather and temperature patterns. More information on the revised frost zones, weight restrictions and frozen road law can be found on the WisDOT web site.




The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's MAPSS Performance Improvement Program reviews performance measures for five key goal areas that guide us in achieving our mission — mobility, accountability, preservation, safety and service. To check out the latest online reports, simply click on the MAPSS logo.



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Last modified: December 19, 2013

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