Construction on the Interstate 90/39 expansion from Madison to the state line will be finished one year ahead of schedule, according to a statement released Thursday by Gov. Scott Walker's office.

The project will wrap up in fall 2021 instead of fall 2022, Steve Theisen, a project spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, told The Gazette.

The DOT will move $32.7 million into the project budget for fiscal year 2018, Thiesen said. That will allow some work to be finished sooner and move the overall project along more quickly, he said.

The extra money comes from savings from lower fuel prices and more competitive bids on road projects, according to Walker's news release.

The shortened schedule will not apply to Madison's Beltline Interchange, which is still undergoing environmental analysis, according to the release.

Thiesen said work planned for 2018 will not change. It’s unknown yet what portions of the project will be expedited in 2019.

Motorists on I-90/39 through Janesville and Beloit will see traffic shift to the southbound lanes along a 12-mile stretch of the Interstate this year, Thiesen said.

Currently, traffic uses the southbound lanes only between Racine Street and Highway 14 in Janesville because work is underway on the northbound lanes, he said.

The work zone will be expanded from Janesville to Hart Road north of Beloit later this year, Thiesen said.

Two lanes will remain open on each side of the Interstate during construction, according to a DOT newsletter. Occasional single-lane closures and ramp closures will occur during nighttime hours.

The new construction timeline will not affect the project's cost, Thiesen said. The change puts the project back on the schedule originally proposed in 2015.

“Opening I-90/39 early ensures that the citizens of Wisconsin will have the infrastructure needed to accommodate job growth and tourism throughout the state,” Walker is quoted as saying in Thursday's release.

The first two years of the project focused on overpasses and interchanges, Thiesen said. Most of the work now will focus on the road expansion.

Construction to the Highway 26 and Highway 14 interchanges in Janesville is scheduled to run from spring 2019 to fall 2021, Thiesen said.

Ruger Avenue in Janesville will reopen Friday after construction crews removed the northbound overpass bridge as part of the expansion.

Reporter - Milton, Edgerton, Albany, Brodhead, Evansville, Footville, Orfordville, health

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