Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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WIS 32 Reconstruction - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Why is the road being reconstructed?

WIS 32 was originally constructed in the 1930’s and the last major rehabilitation project was in 1983. The underlying pavement structure has reached the end of its useful life and is due for reconstruction. Other deficiencies include narrow shoulders, increasing congestion at 6 Mile Road & WIS 31, poor drainage along the roadway and safety concerns as volumes increase.

A primary driver of the project is the need for safety and operational improvements to the intersections of WIS 31 and WIS 32 with 6 Mile Road. Each intersection has a significant crash history and analysis indicates poor intersection mobility in the future without improvements.

Didn’t WisDOT just repave WIS 32?

The resurfacing project completed in 2009 was a short term improvement expected to last 5-10 years until the roadway is reconstructed. The pavement is already showing numerous cracks and other distress, which is expected given underlying deficiencies and the overall age of the roadway.

Why is WIS 32 being expanded?

Future traffic volumes warrant the construction of a 4-lane facility and it would be fiscally irresponsible to reconstruct the roadway in its current configuration without planning for the future. Widening WIS 32 is also recommended in the region transportation plan (SEWRPC Planning Report No. 49, A Regional Transportation System Plan for Southeastern Wisconsin: 2035).

Why wasn’t WIS 31 widened to 4-lanes?

The 2006 reconstruction of WIS 31 was planned with a future 4-lane expansion in mind, however current and projected future volumes don’t yet warrant the additional lanes. Conversely, WIS 32 in this area currently carries twice the traffic volume of WIS 31.

Why was a roundabout selected for the intersection of WIS 32, WIS 31 and 6 Mile Road?

WisDOT has reviewed an extensive number of designs for the intersections of WIS 32, WIS 31 and 6 Mile Road. The close proximity of the intersections is a unique situation that creates challenges to improving safety and mobility while minimizing property impacts. A single roundabout offers the greatest safety and mobility at the lowest cost and least overall impact to neighboring properties.

Why not just add signals to the intersections of WIS 31/WIS 32 and WIS 31/6 Mile Road?

A signalized intersection concept was presented to the public in September 2010. The signal concept displaced 4 businesses and 3 residences (while a single roundabout displaced 1 business and 4 residences). In addition, signalized intersections at this site wouldn’t provide for efficient movement of traffic due to the close spacing of WIS 31 and WIS 32, i.e., the vehicle queue from one signal would block the adjacent intersection.

Why is WisDOT not proposing a continuous paved median, also known as a Two-Way Left Turn Lane (TWLTL)?

A median is a raised divider in the center of a road that separates opposing traffic and discourages or prevents vehicles from crossing the divider. Medians can have a profound effect on driver safety compared to two-way left-turn lanes. Adding a median to a road that previously had a continuous two-way left-turn lane can reduce the crash rate about 37% and the injury rate about 48%. One reason a two-way left turn lane is less safe than a median is that a driver who is turning left onto the highway must be able to ensure that the traffic is clear from two directions in multiple lanes. When this is not quite possible, drivers will sometimes use a two-way left-turn lane in the middle of the road while attempting to merge into traffic. Such maneuvers can lead to serious crashes and become more frequent as traffic volumes increase.

Why is WisDOT proposing to construct sidewalks?

Highway reconstruction projects utilizing federal funds are required to incorporate pedestrian facilities with limited exceptions, none of which are applicable to the WIS 32 project. More recently, Wisconsin enacted state statute 84.01(35) which requires WisDOT to “ensure that bikeways and pedestrian ways are established in all new highway construction and reconstruction projects funded in whole or in part from state funds or federal funds…”

Are there any impacts to driveways?

This project will propose some private access modifications and change the ability of motorists to turn left into and out of driveways. This is being proposed primarily for safety. Studies have shown that roads with well-managed access are often 40 to 50 percent safer than poorly managed routes.

Each access point creates potential conflicts between through traffic and traffic using that access. Managed access improves safety by separating access points so that turning and crossing movements occur at fewer locations. This allows drivers passing through an area to predict where other drivers will turn and cross, and also provides space to add turn lanes.

Will this project connect to the Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha multi-use trail (MRK trail) that runs along the railroad tracks to the east?

The project will indirectly connect to the trail via 5 Mile Road and 6 Mile Road. WIS 32 will have paved bike lanes and sidewalks that enable bike and pedestrian travel throughout the project limits for connection to these side roads and access to the multi-use trail.

Will this project complete the gap in the Racine multi-use trail from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road?

No, completing the gap in the MRK trail from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road is a local / county effort that is beyond the scope of WisDOT’s WIS 32 project. The WIS 32 project will however provide an on street bike lane or wide paved shoulder from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road.

Will this project fix my drainage problems?

WisDOT intends to provide proper roadway drainage and minimize drainage impacts on adjacent properties. While it is the responsibility of WisDOT to provide for adequate drainage within highway right of way, it is beyond WisDOT’s jurisdiction to alter regional drainage patterns. WisDOT can’t control the amount of water draining toward the highway, nor can WisDOT prevent this water from traveling downstream. Drainage concerns that exist outside the state highway or on a regional basis should be discussed with the local drainage district.

What will happen to my sump pump discharge?

WisDOT will be working with homeowners to maintain sump pump drainage, either by allowing connections to the roadway storm sewer, or where topography allows, by re-directing discharge pipes away from the roadway. Evaluation of sump connections will begin shortly by contacting property owners to determine the number and location of existing sump pump drainage pipes.

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Last modified: July 26, 2013

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