WisDOT began studying the US 14/WIS 11 corridor between US 51 in Janesville and I-43 near Darien in 2003. Responding to requests received from the public and their local officials, the original study area limits (US 51 to I-43) were expanded in 2005 to include studying a potential connection between US 14 and the existing WIS 11 bypass on the west side of Janesville.
Current traffic volumes exceed the threshold for consideration of a four-lane roadway. In addition, crash rates on several sections of the corridor have been increasing and the level of service is decreasing. WisDOT decided to conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to determine how travel needs can be met in the future.
US 14/WIS 11 is identified as a “backbone” route in WisDOT’s Connections 2030 long range plan. Backbone routes are high quality roadways connecting all the regions and economic centers in the state, and providing connections to the national transportation system. As a backbone route US 14/WIS 11 needs to serve regional, as well as local traffic.
Phase 1 (Needs Assessment (NA)) - The data gathering phase of the study has been completed. Information was obtained regarding existing and projected traffic volumes, crash data, and natural and cultural resources in the study area.
Phase 2 (develop alternatives) - The study is currently in the alternative development phase. A wide range of potential improvement alternatives was developed. After meeting with state and federal agencies, local officials, and business owners in the area, the alternatives were narrowed down to a list of reasonable and feasible alternatives which will be further studied.
Phase 3 (evaluate alternatives) - The next phase of the study, alternative analysis, will evaluate each of the alternatives that are carried forward. The alternatives will be evaluated based on level of safety improvement, cost, right of way needs, land use, engineering factors, environmental impacts, and local impacts.
Phase 4 (completion of an EIS) - The final phase of the study will result in the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The purpose of the EIS is to analyze and compare impacts of the various alternatives, including a no-build alternative. The no-build alternative is an alternative that assumes no improvements will be made to the highway. The Final EIS
(FEIS) will recommend a preferred alternative.
What are the remaining alternatives under consideration?
There are currently five alternatives for the west segment of the study (a potential connection between US 14 and WIS 11 west of Janesville) and six alternatives for the east
segment (between Janesville and I-43) still under consideration.
May 18, 2012 - West segment portion of the study project is suspended indefinitely.
No build – No improvements would be provided other than routine
Transportation System Management (TSM) improvements – Minor improvements would be made along the existing highway, including intersection and traffic signal modifications, and access modifications.
Improvements existing alignment – Corridor wide improvements would be made along the existing alignment, including additional traffic lanes, intersection and traffic signal modifications, and access modifications.
Middle connection – A connection would be made between US 14 and WIS 11 west of Janesville along a new alignment between Britt and Burdick roads.
Inner connection – A connection would be made between US 14 and WIS 11 west of Janesville along a new alignment between Burdick and Austin roads.
Since the Sept. 2010 public information meetings, the remaining alternatives
are being further refined. It is possible that a new alternative will emerge, or one or more alternatives could be dropped from further consideration.
The alternatives that are carried forward will be developed more fully and presented to the public, along with the impacts for each alternative, at future public information meetings and public hearings.
Eventually, a preferred alternative will be selected and identified in the
FEIS. The current schedule calls for completion of a FEIS with a preferred alternative within the next year.
When will the public have opportunities to comment?
Comments will be taken throughout the study until it is completed. The Sept. 2010 public information meetings will be followed by additional public information meetings, and a public hearing prior to the completion of the
FEIS. There will also be additional meetings with local representatives throughout the study process.
The study area is blessed with a vibrant agricultural economy. Evaluating impacts to agricultural operations, as well as all other natural and cultural resources, will be an important part of the comparison of alternatives.
Detailed analysis of impacts will be completed as part of the EIS process. Additional coordination between WisDOT; the Department of Natural Resources; the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; other state and federal agencies; and local representatives will take place throughout the study process.
Who has to approve the preferred alternative that is selected for the
WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration approve the preferred alternative and seek the concurrence of the federal resource agencies, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency. These approvals are sufficient for approval of the
Why was this study split into two separate
It will provide an alternate relief route – WisDOT is planning a
capacity expansion of I-39/90 in the Janesville area that will be
constructed primarily in 2016 – 2018. During construction there will
likely be significant delays on the freeway in the Janesville area. A
connection between WIS 11 and US 14 on the west side of Janesville
would provide an alternate route during times of congestion.
Currently, the closest alternate route is US 51, which runs through
downtown Janesville. Other routes, such as WIS 26 and County G (Beloit
Avenue), can also serve as alternates, but also pass through the
downtown area. A connection between US 14 and WIS 11 on Janesville’s
west side could provide a route that not only relieves congestion on
the freeway, but also removes potential congestion and gridlock from
downtown Janesville during the 3 years of freeway construction.
Accelerate completion – If the west segment is broken out, it is
anticipated the EIS could be completed in 2012, and construction of a
US 14/WIS 11 connection could be completed in 2015, prior to work
beginning on the freeway in the Janesville area. The schedule for
completion of an EIS for the west segment can be accelerated because
the west segment is much shorter than the east segment and has fewer
impacts. In addition, much of the work completed to date can be
utilized to satisfy NEPA requirements without reverting to an earlier
phase in the study.
If the west segment of the US 14/WIS 11 corridor study is not
broken out from the current study, the earliest anticipated completion
date for the EIS would be in mid-2013. This would push construction of
any improvements back to at least 2016, which means a west connection
could not be completed prior to work on the freeway in the Janesville
Remove US and WIS highways from downtown Janesville – a new
connection on the west side of Janesville would allow for the
jurisdictional transfer of the existing US 51 and WIS 26 roadways
US 51 would be routed around the west side of Janesville using the
new connection between WIS 11 and US 14. Removing US 51 from the
downtown area would allow it to better serve its function as a US
highway. It would also remove regional traffic from the downtown area,
and ensure that traffic avoiding construction on the freeway does not
go through the downtown.
With the removal of US 51 from downtown Janesville, WisDOT would
also end WIS 26 at the I-39/90 interchange. This would allow the
existing WIS 26 roadway to become a local road, which it currently
This roadway is foreseen as providing an alternate route in the
Janesville area during the I39-90 expansion project. Since the
I39-90 project will be constructed in the Janesville area in
2016-2018, construction of the selected alternative would occur no
later than 2015.