Janesville32.4°

State ponders widening portion of Highway 50

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Mike Heine
January 16, 2008

A facelift for Highway 50?


Could be.


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is starting to gather input for a possible widening of Highway 50 from Interstate 43 in Delavan east to Highway 67 south of Elkhorn.


The department has the 5-mile stretch tabbed for reconstruction in 2015, said Beth Blum, project manager.


Forecasts call for the two-lane road to eventually be widened, possibly to four lanes the entire stretch.


“This is in the preliminary engineering (stage) right now,” Blum said.


A study will look to identify sensitive areas that might hinder an expansion, such as Native American burial grounds, a golf course, homes near or in the right-of-way, a bridge over Delavan Lake and natural areas, she said.


Expanding to the north side of the road would have an impact on more residences and businesses. Widening the south side of the road would have a greater environmental impact, Blum said.


It’s too early to put a price tag on such a project.


“We will start an exact survey for putting plans together probably in 2010,” Blum said.


The roadway is “tired and worn,” said Mark Mullikin, Walworth County public works department superintendent.


The stretch is tabbed for resurfacing within two years, Blum said.


It gets heavy traffic year round, but numbers jump in the summer when tourism spikes and summer residents head north from Illinois.


“Highway 50 is the busiest two-lane road—the portions of it that are two lane—in the county,” Mullikin said.


Other improvements


By mid April, a 2-mile stretch of Highway 50 from Highway 67 east to Geneva Street will be closed to through traffic. Local traffic will have access while the two-lane highway is repaved, said Doug Cain, project manager for the DOT.


The intersection itself will remain open during construction, Cain said.


The project should be done sometime in September, weather permitting, Cain said.


Also this summer, improvements to the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 67 will close part of Highway 50, Cain said.


The project is to improve the flow of traffic through the intersection and prepare for the possibility of a four-lane road, Cain said.


The intersection will expand to four lanes in each direction. Right- and left-turn lanes and medians will be added in each direction, and a traffic signal will be installed, Cain said.


TO LEARN MORE

The public is invited to a meeting 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Delavan-Darien High School, 150 Cummings St., Delavan, to discuss work proposed for Highway 50 between Interstate 43 and Highway 67.


Wisconsin Department of Transportation Department officials and engineers will answer questions one-on-one with attendees.



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