DOT plans for Interstate 39/90 upgrades

Project estimated to cost up to $800 million
DOT plans for Interstate 39/90 upgrades

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is outlining for Rock County residents changes and upgrades to Interstate 39/90.

The project stretches from the Illinois state line to Madison’s Beltline, and it has an estimated price tag of close to $1 billion. The DOT is not the only group saying this is a good investment.

The DOT team, along with consultants, put final touches on the presentation, which showed planned changes for one of the state’s more heavily traveled highways.

“It’s a key corridor. It’s a key connection for people coming to Wisconsin — whether it’s tourism, whether it’s business, whether it’s manufacturing,” said Steve Marshall, the DOT’s I-39/90 south quarter project manager.

A public input meeting Tuesday night in Turtle is the first of many.

Under the current plans, traffic will go from two lanes to three or four in certain areas. Upgrades are also slated for busy, outdated interchanges, including those at route 43 and route 11.

“We’re going to have longer ramps, higher ramps and ramps going over ramps and things like that to accommodate the traffic to flow more freely and things in the area,” Marshall said.

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The estimated cost to make the improvements along the 45-mile stretch now sits at $700 million to $800 million, and Marshall said he expects that to increase over time. Marshall said with 50,000 vehicles on that road every day, these improvements are necessary.

Along with safety concerns, the DOT is confident this will increase business opportunities up and down the entire road. Dan Cunningham with Forward Janesville agrees that more lanes will mean more cars and trucks, and more vehicles means more money.

“There are a lot of people who make their living on this road,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham admitted that drivers will have to be patient. The DOT isn’t set to begin the first phase of the project until July 2015, and the work will last at least five years. However, Cunningham said this could mean big things for his city and the entire state.

“This is a big step in our reinvention,” Cunningham said. “Being able to point at something like this and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a brand new billion-dollar interstate upgrade’ is going to be huge for us.”

According to Cunningham, anywhere from $650 million to $800 million of freight is carried on I-39/90 every day.

For more detailed information on the project, go to www.dot.state.wi.us/projects/swregion/i3990/index.htm

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