To accommodate heavy traffic volumes expected over the Memorial Day weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is asking contractors to temporarily halt construction work on many highway improvement projects across the state. While workers will open as many highway lanes as possible, motorists should still allow extra travel time and expect slower traffic in work zones and along major highway corridors.
Construction in most highway work zones will stop by noon on Friday, May 26, and will not resume until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30. Peak travel times for the Memorial Day weekend are expected to occur between noon until 8 p.m. on both Friday, May 26, and Monday, May 29. AAA of Wisconsin expects some 700,000 state residents will travel 50 miles or more on state roadways over the holiday weekend.
“We’ll be pulling back construction barrels and opening as many lanes as possible, but we’re asking motorists to plan ahead, avoid peak travel periods if possible, and expect traffic to slow down or even stop especially in work zones,” said Wayne Chase, WisDOT’s Chief Construction Oversight Engineer. “We need drivers to be patient and focused on what’s ahead of them to prevent rear-end crashes that are common in work zones.”
State law prohibits drivers from using a handheld mobile device in Wisconsin work zones except for emergencies. Fines start at $40. Transportation safety officials note that higher traffic volumes and speeds often generate more traffic-related deaths and injuries. During last year’s Memorial Day weekend in Wisconsin, 10 people lost their lives in traffic-related crashes.
“We want everyone to reach their destinations safely, but that requires all motorists to do their part by buckling up, being alert and responsible behind the wheel,” said David Pabst, Director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. “To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries, law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin are watching for unbuckled drivers and passengers as part of the Click It or Ticket mobilization that continues through June 4th.”
Throughout the spring and summer travel periods, the Wisconsin State Patrol will utilize aircraft as part of traffic safety enforcement efforts. The dates, times and locations of many of the aerial enforcement missions are announced in advance on Twitter (@WisconsinDOT, #WisDOT).
Significant road construction projects that may affect highway travel during the Memorial Day weekend include:
· Zoo Interchange project in Milwaukee County – work continues with a new traffic pattern in place. Closures include the system ramp from I-94 westbound to I-41/894 southbound. Access to I-94 westbound is restricted at 84th Street. The ramp remains open for traffic going to I-41 northbound. Various other on and off ramps remain under construction with detours posted to get motorists around the closures.
· I-41 over the Kohlsville River in Washington County has a unique traffic pattern in place. To maximize traffic flow in the area, both lanes of I-41 southbound are open to traffic with one lane crossing over to the northbound roadway and the other remaining on the southbound roadway. Those looking to access the County D exit ramp from I-41 southbound should stay in the right lane. Both northbound lanes are open to traffic. This traffic pattern will remain in place until late June.
· WIS 142 (Bushnell Road) near the city of Burlington will have a roadway closure to through traffic between WIS 11/36/83 and downtown Burlington that may impact travel for Chocolate Fest over the holiday weekend. Motorists are encouraged to use the signed detour route along Durand Avenue/State Street and WIS 11/36/83 to get around the closure.
· WIS 175 in Washington County – full closure from just north of County Q to just south of County F and from just north of WIS 167 (Holy Hill Road) to WIS 60. Detour involves use of I-41, accessing at WIS 60 or County Y (Lannon Road).
· US 45 in Kenosha County – full closure from the IL/WI state line to north of County C. Detour involves use of I-41, accessing at WIS 50 or IL 173.
· I-39/90/94 north of Madison – traffic reduced to two lanes in each direction and lane shifts at WIS 19 (Exit 131).
· I-39/90 in Dane and Rock counties – be alert for lane shifts and crossovers. Reduced speed limit on I-39/90 northbound near Edgerton and Newville. Ramps to/from I-39/90 northbound at US 51 interchange (Exit 156) are closed. Alternate routes are required.
· US 14 northbound ramp to westbound US 12/18 (Madison Beltline) closed May 26 – 27. Alternate routes are required.
· Verona Road (US 18/151) in Dane County.
· I-43 in Brown County is reduced to a single lane in each direction between Denmark (WIS 96) and the WIS 172/I-43 ramps in Green Bay. Also, I-43 in southern Manitowoc County is reduced to a single lane in each direction. As these lane reductions may result in traffic back-ups and/or slow travel, motorists may wish to consider using I-41 through Fond du Lac, Winnebago, Outagamie and Brown counties as an alternate north/south route.
· I-41 near US 10 in Winnebago County – northbound and southbound lanes of I-41 have a 55 mph speed reduction and lane shifts throughout the WIS 441 Tri-Project work zone. Eastbound and westbound US 10 also have a 55 mph speed reduction through the work zone.
· WIS 128 (Pierce/St Croix counties) – detour of WIS 128 between WIS 72 and WIS 29 to replace culverts. Detour route would include WIS 72 to Pierce County G to Pierce County CC to WIS 29.
· US 12 (Clairemont Ave) in Eau Claire – motorists can expect single lane closures.
WIS 22 in Clintonville (Waupaca County) is closed between 13th Street and WIS 156. Through traffic is detoured via 7th St., N. Lyon St., E. 12th St., SSGT Warren Hansen Drive, and WIS 156.
· US 51 in Marathon County – the left shoulder on northbound US 51 will be closed at the County WW interchange and the southbound climbing lane north of Brokaw will be closed to traffic. US 51 northbound and southbound will be open to two lanes of traffic in each direction.
· WIS 54 between Dexterville and Port Edwards (Wood County) is closed and detoured via WIS 80, WIS 173 and WIS 73.
For up-to-the-minute information on work zones and incidents that may affect highway travel, motorists can access the state’s 511 travel information system by downloading the free 511 Wisconsin mobile app or following @511WI on Twitter. Users can also access the system by dialing 511 on a phone or visiting 511wi.gov on the web. To eliminate distractions while behind the wheel, drivers should use mobile communication devices only when their vehicle is completely stopped and safely off the traveled portion of the roadway.
Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicle customer service centers will be closed on Memorial Day, but citizens can conduct DMV business online 24/7 at wisconsindmv.gov.