Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I-43 / STH 172 Improvements Scheduled

Travelers on IH-43 and WIS 172 experienced some unexpected delays and back ups when all traffic was detoured around the emergency bridge construction over the Fox River in 2013.  The Wisconsin DOT quickly changed the way the lanes were striped and it helped with traffic flow.  In fact, after construction was completed on the bridge, the improved traffic flow was decided to be maintained permanently.

The Wisconsin DOT designed and let a contract to make the lane changes permanent.  In order to do this, some additional pavement will be added to sections of the interchange to accommodate permanent design changes.  Construction is anticipated to start in late August 2014.  Following is a quote from Senator Hansen's office regarding the construction.

“The current configuration was a temporary solution as a result of the Leo Frigo Bridge emergency project last fall/winter.  As a result of the Leo Frigo Bridge being closed, traffic was rerouted to use WIS 172.  This resulted in some temporary reconfiguration of some of the ramps.  The reconfiguration worked so well from a traffic operations standpoint, WisDOT decided to leave the ramps in that configuration longer than initially expected.  The problem is that this temporary configuration resulted only 1 lane on IH 43 northbound, which is not acceptable from a long term standpoint. 

We let a construction project in July at the system interchange to restore IH 43 northbound back to 2 lanes while increasing the traffic flow on the WIS 172 eastbound to IH 43 northbound merge. The cost of this project is approximately $520,000 and will take 20 working days to complete. Travelers in this area will experience delays while we do this work. We will be letting folks know about the construction once it gets closer to starting.

•       The IH 43 southbound to WIS 172 westbound system interchange ramp will remain how it’s currently configured and marked.

•       The IH 43 northbound to WIS 172 westbound system interchange ramp will remain how it’s currently configured and marked.

•       IH 43 northbound will be restored to 2 full travel lanes where we have it currently narrowed to 1 lane prior to the upcoming construction – which we anticipate around the end of August.

•       The WIS 172 eastbound to IH 43 northbound ramp will be restored back to 1 lane at the same time just prior to construction. We need to do this to facilitate construction operations for lengthening the merge lane which is described next.

•       The project will lengthen the merge from WIS 172 eastbound to IH 43 northbound.  This ramp extension will allow motorists more distance and time to merge with the IH 43 northbound traffic.  So it will not be exactly how it is out there today, but an improvement over what was there prior to Frigo repair.”

Questions regarding the upcoming construction may be directed to the Department of Transportation.