Racine Street interchange tops list of local highway work

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Jim Leute
Friday, May 17, 2013

— With Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer about a week away, motorists should be prepared for another rite of the season: road construction.

With a few exceptions, drivers in Rock County will encounter relatively unimpeded travels.

The most notable exception is a major reconstruction of the Interstate 90/39 interchange with Racine Street on Janesville's south side.

Here's a look at some of the more notable road construction work scheduled in Rock County this summer:

Interstate 90/39

Heavy construction is still two years away on the project that will widen the Interstate between the Illinois state line and the Beltline in Madison.

Local motorists, however, will get a taste of interstate construction when work starts late next month on the Highway 11/Racine Street intersection.

Work will involve a new Interstate interchange and reconstruction of Racine Street from Palmer Drive to Midland Road. The estimated $13.8 million cost will be paid by the state. The city is expected to pay about $51,450, mostly for additional street lighting.

The project will include a new Racine Street bridge and a diamond interchange with two roundabouts.

On Racine Street, one lane will be open in each direction at all times, including turning lanes to the Interstate. Periodic nighttime work will occur on the Interstate below the bridge.

Construction will be completed in November.

“It's an aggressive schedule for a significant project,” said John Steiner, one of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation supervisors on the project. “The bidders know that.”

Steiner said the project likely will be on hiatus around the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but after that it will continue full-bore into November.

Highway 26

Local motorists dealt with reconstruction work between Janesville and Milton last year.

Late this summer, they should be able to drive on the new section of Highway 26 from Town Line Road at Milton to just north of County N.

Crews will start paving that stretch in about a month, said Terri Schopp, project manager.

“We should be able to switch traffic over to the new (Milton) bypass in late August or early September,” she said.

Construction also will start north of County N toward Fort Atkinson, although this year's schedule will not require traffic switches, Schopp said. It will, however, include some shoulder closures and night work.

Much farther to the north, construction work is starting on the expansion of Highway 26 to four lanes between County J and County Q in Dodge County. The highway will remain open to traffic utilizing the existing roadways, temporary roadways and the new roadway. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Highway 60 will be reconstructed and realigned to the east of Highway 26. The existing highway will remain open to traffic during construction.

County projects

Ben Coopman, Rock County's director of public works, describes this summer as an average one for the county, which will spend about $2 million on road projects.

County crews will launch the next phase of the County M reconstruction this year from County KK to County MM. Coopman said the work will get a little tricky in Johnstown Center, where some specialized bridge and culvert work is required.

The county also will continue its repaving of County A west of Janesville. Last year, crews did the section from Britt Road to the city limits.

This year's focus is on Britt Road to County H, where all work to the west and the Rock-Green county line already has been done, he said.

In addition, Coopman said, the county will do some seal-coating work on County KK between Highway 59 and North County Line Road, as well as on County M near Wilder Road.

“We'll also being doing a few other projects for the towns,” he said.

Last updated: 10:35 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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