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Driver complaints force changes in Beltline construction

DOT is working to lengthen ramps, give cars more time to merge

Driver complaints force changes in Beltline construction

MADISON, Wis. - The Department of Transportation will make changes to Beltline construction after drivers complained that on-ramps were unsafe.

The DOT has been doing resurfacing work and building sound barriers along the Beltline for the last few months, but after a number of crashes and complaints from drivers, they're working with a contractor to change the ramp design.

Ramps at Old Sauk and Mineral Point Roads have been using yield signs causing slower merging in places with poor visibility, and the merge lanes have been drastically shortened.

Marty Caban drives the Beltline day and night for his two jobs, and he said drivers don't know how to respond at the on-ramps.

"If they're too scared they're going to stop, and you're sitting there waiting and cars creep on one at a time," said Caban, who works for a landscaping company by day and delivers pizzas at night. "But then there's other people that fly on there and in the two lines, and it's like, 'Woah!' So it's dangerous."

Madison Police Department officials said since May 1 there have been 10 crashes at the Beltline and Mineral Point Road, and 12 crashes at the Beltline and Old Sauk Road.

News 3 asked the DOT why the ramps were designed this way in the first place.

"Safety and mobility are always a primary concern for us in our construction zones, but we obviously have to balance those with the ability to get the work done," DOT project manager David Layton said. "It's following state and national standards."

The DOT is now working with contractors to lengthen the ramps and give cars more time to merge.

"We pay close attention to what's going on in the work zone and make adjustments as needed to improve any safety issues we see as they arise," Layton said.

To get that work done, the DOT will close the north and west bound ramp to Old Sauk Road for the entire weekend of Aug. 15-17. The following week, they will close the south and east bound Old Sauk Road ramp for three weeks and provide detours around it.

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