Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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US 12 Corridor, aka Baraboo Bypass - Need/purpose

Why is this project needed?

US 12 is a principal east-west connector route across south central Wisconsin and connects Dane and Sauk counties to the Interstate system.

This section of US 12 serves as a prime tourism center with the various natural areas – Devil’s Lake and Mirror Lake State Parks, the many attractions in Lake Delton, Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells area.

US 12 is designated as a long-truck route in the National Highway System (NHS) and as a connector route in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT's) State Highway Plan 2020.

Under the plan, connector routes are given higher priority funding since they connect major regions and economic centers.

Expressways and freeways

Expressways and freeways are both multi-lane divided roadways. The difference lies in how vehicles gain access to these roadways.

Expressway has at-grade intersections at major roadways.

  • Each intersection poses a higher risk to drivers crossing or turning onto US 12. At lower traffic volumes, these are typically very safe.

Freeway only allows access at interchanges.

  • A freeway would improve safety for vehicles crossing or turning onto busier highways like US 12.

Intersections and interchanges

  • Intersection is where two roads meet at-grade
  • Interchange has on and off ramps

Project benefits

A safer and more efficient roadway between Lake Delton and the existing four lane roadway south of Baraboo.

The majority of US 12 will be reconstructed from two lanes to four lanes to move traffic more efficiently, especially during the summer months when traffic volumes increase threefold.

Safety will be improved by:

  • Removing direct access to businesses/homes along the freeway portion (From I-90/94 heading south around Baraboo).
  • Allowing access only at the following five interchanges:
    • Fern Dell Rd.
    • North Reedsburg Rd.
    • WIS 33
    • WIS 136
    • County W
  • South of Baraboo, the freeway will change to an expressway with limited access to some businesses/homes and full access to the Lehman Rd. and Ski Hi Rd. intersections.

Questions about the content of this page, contact:
WisDOT Southwest Region Office-Madison, swr.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: June 23, 2014

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