DOT to unveil alterations to Newville I-90/39 interchange

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Neil Johnson
Thursday, July 25, 2013

NEWVILLE—State officials next week will unveil a few new plans in how traffic flow and business access could change at the Interstate 90/39 interchange at Newville.

On tap for a DOT public forum Thursday in Janesville: a proposal to reconfigure the Highway 59 interchange with an emerging state Department of Transportation specialty—roundabouts.

Also up for discussion at the forum are emerging plans to add a park-and-ride commuter parking lot and to build a frontage road that would link traffic from one of three planned roundabouts to a gas station and to the Culver's restaurant at 571 E. Richardson Springs Road. 

Thursday's forum, which will be held at Janesville's Marshall Middle School, will include a general discussion on the entire I-90/39 expansion from the Dane/Rock County line south to County O.

DOT Project Manager Derek Potter said the public forum will highlight new and developing plans on how interchanges along the entire section of the project could be altered.

The forum will offer residents and business owners a chance to ask questions and voice concerns about the Interstate expansion plan, which is set to start in 2015 and will expand the Interstate to six lanes between Madison and the state line. The Interstate will be eight lanes through Janesville.

One major change at the interchange would be three roundabouts on Highway 59, Potter said. Under DOT plans, two of the roundabouts are designed to coordinate traffic on and off east and west lanes of I-90/39 without stoplights, according to DOT plans. 

The interchange would be reshaped from its current design of a double-looped, half-cloverleaf to a diamond-shaped interchange, according to DOT plans.

Potter said a third roundabout on Highway 59 east of I-90/39 would funnel traffic to a McDonald's, a gas station and a specialty cheese and wine shop along Goede Road.

He said the way that the lanes are structured, southbound vehicles on Goede Road could have to negotiate the roundabout and double back to access some of the planned entrances on the south side of Goede Road.

The roundabout also would link to a potential park-and-ride lot to the north.

An earlier proposal by the state to place a park-and-ride lot near Newville met resistance by the Rock County Board and the Fulton Town Board, and the plan was scrapped, according to a 2004 Gazette report.

The DOT will unveil a proposal Thursday for a new spur of East Richardson Springs Road that would run from the eastern-most of three roundabouts to Culver's and Newville Travel Center, 581 E. Richardson Springs Road.

The two businesses are among dozens along 59 at the interchange which serve as a commercial hub for boating and tourism at Lake Koshkonong and the Rock River.

Potter said plans are still being hashed out, but the DOT is considering placing a raised median at the intersection of Richardson Springs Road and Highway 59.

He said the median would allow motorists emerging from Culver's or the gas station to turn south onto Highway 59, but it would prevent motorists from driving straight east across the highway to Mallwood Drive. 

That plan, Potter said, addresses concerns about safety and traffic congestion by residents and town of Fulton officials.

Culver's owner Scott Mallon said the DOT is working closely with Newville business owners on an interchange design that doesn't cut off access to businesses.

Mallon said some businesses are concerned the rate of traffic on the planned roundabouts could make it difficult for customers to peel off to area businesses.

“It's going to be a change—it's something that's going to have a lot of adjustment. We don't know what to expect. Mainly, we don't know what it'll do to affect traffic flow,” Mallon said.

Another change near the Newville interchange is a plan by the DOT to remove the Goede Road overpass, which crosses west over the Interstate north of Highway 59 and build another frontage road west of the Interstate. 

Removing the overpass, which is long and angled, would save the state replacement and maintenance costs, Potter said.

The new frontage road would connect to Highway 59, extending from Hemenway Road north to the current section of North Goede Road that lies west of the Interstate.

Potter confirmed that the access road is in a “planned right of way” that would split part of a parcel along Hemenway Road that houses a dog kennel and K-9 training facility.

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