Five designs eyed for Beloit interchange
BELOIT—State transportation officials hope to decide by late spring which of five alternatives will be the preferred design for the Interstate 90/39 interchange with Interstate 43 and Highway 81 in Beloit.
Whichever they choose, the interchange that's targeted for construction in late 2017 will be radically different than the one that exists today.
Gone will be the cloverleaf pattern championed by designers of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In its place will be an interchange that promotes free flowing Interstate-to-Interstate connections at highway speeds and with right-side only entrances and exits.
What's left to be decided are some variations on three basic plans:
-- Alternative 1 has two variations, A and B. This plan maintains existing local road and Interstate access, with no Highway 81 extension to Gateway Boulevard.
-- Alternative 2 also has A and B versions. It provides additional local road access through the connection of Highway 81 to Gateway Boulevard and moves I-43/Highway 81 access to the County X/Hart Road intersection.
-- Alternative 3 has just one version and provides additional local road access through the connection of Highway 81 to Gateway Boulevard and maintains the existing I-43/Highway 81 access.
The state Department of Transportation sponsored a public information session Tuesday, and all five versions were on display.
For the most part, 'A' versions are based on a shift of Interstate 90/39 to the east. The 'B' versions involve three different levels of roadway, said Mike Preboske, the state's project consultant for the southern section of the overall Interstate expansion project.
Whether intersections off the interstates will be controlled by traffic signals or roundabouts will be determined later, he said.
The entire 45-mile expansion project runs from the Illinois state line to the Beltline in Madison. The southern section includes a 12-mile stretch that runs from the state line to County O south of Janesville.
While construction is expected to start in various places across all three segments in 2015, the interchange work in Beloit is scheduled to start in late 2017, said Steve Marshall, the DOT's project manager for the southern segment.
Right now, total project costs for the interchange range from $93 million to $124 million, depending on the alternative chosen.
Before Tuesday's session, Beloit City Manager Larry Arft said the city has not thrown its support behind any of the alternatives, but establishing a local connection from Highway 81 (Milwaukee Road) on the west to Gateway Boulevard on the east is critical.