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Project will make changes on Highway 26 between Janesville and Milton

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 18, 2012
— Highway 26 north of Janesville will look a lot different by November, but construction officials will work to minimize hassles for local businesses, they said Tuesday.

“There certainly will be inconveniences,” said Project Manager Lance Wagner. “What we will do is try to minimize those inconveniences.”


Wagner works for R.H. Batterman, an engineering firm in Beloit. He and a handful of employees on Tuesday held a public information session in downtown Janesville for business owners and residents who will be affected by the work. The meeting was in addition to a “preconstruction” meeting held last week.


About 15 people attended. Most had questions about the timing of the project.


The focus of Tuesday’s meeting was on the work that will be done between County Y on Janesville’s north side and Townline Road south of Milton. It is part of a larger project to improve Highway 26. Eventually, drivers will be able to go around Milton via a bypass connected by ramps to Townline Road. Work on the bypass is separate from the County Y to Townline Road project, although preliminary construction work is under way, Wagner said.


Work south of Townline Road should be done by the end of this year. Work on the bypass should be done by the end of the 2013 construction season, Wagner said.


The goal of the work this summer will be to improve the safety of the highway by limiting direct access from driveways and crossroads, Wagner said. The big differences drivers will notice will be a frontage road to access the businesses between County Y and McCormick Drive, full traffic signals at McCormick, and a diamond interchange at Harmony Town Hall Road, Wagner said.


Here are highlights of the estimated construction timeline, according to Batterman documents:


Stages 1 and 2—under way

-- Goal completion date is Aug. 8.


Spring: Temporary widening of Highway 26 to prepare for improvement of the McCormick Drive intersection. Widen County Y at the new Wright Road and at McCormick Drive. Construct temporary median crossovers and prepare northbound lanes to handle temporary southbound traffic.


-- Spring/summer: Reconstruct Highway 26 southbound lanes. Finish County Y at McCormick. Continue work on Town Hall Road and Wright Road.


Stage 3

-- Goal completion date is Oct. 1.


-- Summer: Move southbound traffic back to southbound lane. Reconstruct median. Continue work on Wright Road and Town Hall Road. Start work on pedestrian overpass and bike paths. Close and reconstruct median at County Y. Close shoulders to work on ramp to Town Hall Road. Continue work on pedestrian overpass.


Stage 4

-- Goal is to open Highway 26 to four lanes of traffic by Nov. 2.


-- Summer/fall: Shift Highway 26 traffic to inside lanes in order to construct outside lanes. Construct frontage roads, bike paths and a water-retention pond. Finish pedestrian overpass. Shift traffic back to outside lanes in order to construct median. Repave shoulders.


TO LEARN MORE

Work is under way to limit cross-street access to Highway 26 between Janesville and Milton.


Business owners in the area can get biweekly email notifications about the project by calling Project Manager Lance Wagner at (608) 754-8217 or visiting the project office at 4342 Milton Ave., Janesville.


Wagner also can coordinate business owners interested in sharing the cost of signs reminding travelers that businesses are open during construction.



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