Work under way on Milton bypass, Highway 26 expansion

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May 16, 2012
— Ready or not, the Milton Highway 26 bypass show has come to town—or at least, off to the east of town about one-half mile.

Through 2014, a string of reroutes, closures and construction obstacles linked to four related bypass projects along Rock County's Highway 26 corridor will become part of life for anyone using that stretch.

Parts of the project already are in progress between Milton and Janesville.

Ground is being moved along Storrs Lake and Henke roads for grading and bridge building projects this year. Paving projects next year will put in place a reroute of Highway 26 that will intersect with Highway 59 a half-mile east of Milton.

The work is part of a four-year, $470-million lane expansion and bypass project of Highway 26 that runs from Janesville north to Watertown, DOT officials said.

Tuesday, about two dozen local residents attended an informational meeting on the bypass hosted by the city of Milton and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

DOT project manager Jeremy Hall said the DOT has been dealing with concerns on an individual level.

Hall pointed to one specific concern Tuesday—a man who lives along Highway 26 near the future Townline Road overpass.

The man had questions about his driveway, which will be moved from Highway 26 to Townline Road.

DOT officials Tuesday pointed out planned closures later this year along the future Highway 26, such as parts of Townline Road south of Milton, where lane closures will be put in place for grading and bridge work from May 24 to Oct. 1, and on County N, part of which will be shut down from July 5 through Oct. 15 for work on a bridge interchange at the future Highway 26.

Some residents came Tuesday to tell the DOT about how work on Highway 26 has temporarily changed traffic patterns.

Frank Vickerman lives on Henke Road, which runs north and south between Milton and Janesville and east of Highway 26. He said traffic there has quadrupled since the project started this year.

Christina Slaback, director of the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, said businesses along Highway 26 are most immediately concerned about how traffic patterns could be affected by construction, but some businesses will see a permanent change of customer flow.

One business would be the Milton Travel Center and McDonald's, which is on the corner of the current Highway 26 and Arthur Drive on the far southeast side. There, the bypass will route Highway 26 along with the main stream of traffic just east of the gas station, leaving it an island of sorts.

Milton Police Chief Dan Layber said the police department plans to keep extra patrols near construction areas along Highway 26.

Layber said motorists should watch out for construction vehicles at Highway 59 and High Street and take extra care near the Highway 59 roundabouts, where bridge construction for the Highway 26 bypass has narrowed the road considerably.

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