Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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US 14/WIS 11 Corridor Study - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Participants at a Needs Assessment (NA) workshop.

Why is this study being done?

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.

What is the study process?

The study process includes four phases:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

West segment

May 18, 2012 - West segment portion of the study project is suspended indefinitely.

  1. No build – No improvements would be provided other than routine maintenance.
  2. Transportation System Management (TSM) improvements – Minor improvements would be made along the existing highway, including intersection and traffic signal modifications, and access modifications.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

When will an alternative be selected?

Since the Sept. 2010 Public Involvement 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 Involvement 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 Involvement Meetings will be followed by additional Public Involvement 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.

What about agricultural impacts?

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 FEIS?

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 FEIS.

Why was this study split into two separate studies?

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 area.

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 through Janesville.

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 functions as.

When would the selected alternative be built?

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.

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

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