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Major changes to Beltline interchange up for discussion at Dec. 13 hearing

December 6, 2018 GMT

Getting rid of the left turn on Interstate 39/90 to the Beltline is one of the biggest changes expected to be made when the Beltline interchange is upgraded, along with widening the southbound lanes of the Interstate to accommodate an ever-increasing traffic load.

Citizens will have a chance to talk about the project at a public hearing Dec. 13 at the Ho-Chunk Nation community recreation center, 4724 Tradewinds Parkway, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The estimated $90 million project would start in 2020 and finish in 2021, the completion of the remodeled interchange within the same timetable for the end of construction on the rebuild of I-39/90 from the state line to Madison.

“The purpose of the project is to accommodate I-39/90 traffic levels, with the focus on safety issues that affect Interstate travel through the interchange, and ensure compatibility with the reconstruction project south of the interchange to the Illinois state line,” said Steven Theisen, project communications manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Local critics, however, say keeping only two lanes northbound at the core of the interchange will create a bottleneck.

Improvements proposed for the interchange include realigning I-39/90 northbound with three lanes before and after the interchange, and two lanes through the core of the interchange, coupled with a right-side exit ramp from northbound I-39/90 to westbound Highway 12/18.

Improvements to the southbound side include a third lane through the core of the interchange and a dedicated exit-only lane from I-39/90 to westbound 12/18.

Four acres of land would be acquired for the project, with about five acres of wetlands and two acres of floodplain impacted by the construction.

The draft environmental assessment for the project is available now and can be seen at DOT offices and at the McFarland Public Library, or online at https://projects.511wi.gov/i-39-90/wp-content/uploads/sites/145/I39-90US12-18intchg_draftEA.pdf

Project maps and other information will be on display at the public hearing, and DOT staff will be on hand to talk about the improvements and to answer questions.

Public comments about the environmental assessment can be sent to Mark Vesperman, Southwest Region Project Office, WisDOT, 111 Interstate Blvd., Edgerton, WI 53534, or by email to mark.vesperman@dot.wi.gov.

The comment period ends Jan. 11.