|Highway 26 Corridor Study - Purpose and Schedule|
Highway 26 Corridor Study
|Why is the Highway 26 study being done?
Highway 26 Corridor Study Schedule
If the Transportation Projects Commission considers and accepts any projects in 2000, it is anticipated that construction would not occur until at least 2008, with right of way acquisition typically beginning no sooner than 2005. Sections of Highway 26 would likely be staged for improvement over a period of time.
Historic preservation an important consideration
The National Preservation Act of 1966 requires that the Highway 26 Study take into account the impact of a federally-funded project on historical, architectural, cultural and archeological resources important to our heritage. To help ensure that this is done for the Highway 26 Study, archaeologists and historians are gathering information and preparing reports on important archaeological and architectural resources that could be affected by one of the alternatives being considered.
Persons with a concern for or knowledge about historical buildings and structures and archaeological sites are encouraged to attend one of the January public information meetings or provide comments to WisDOT or their consulting firm, Earth Tech. The Milton House is one of the premier historic properties in Wisconsin, having received National Historic Landmark status. The Highway 26 Study will not consider any alternative solutions for study that would directly affect the Milton House building.
Other projects along the Highway 26 corridor
Before the Highway 26 corridor study began in February 1999, a number of projects were already completed or planned for this section of Highway 26 due to a combination of congestion and safety problems. These projects include: the Fort Atkinson bypass completed in 1995; two lanes added between the cities of Janesville and Milton last summer; two lanes will be added in the Johnson Creek area from Highway Y to Baneck Lane and the Interstate 94 interchange will be improved in 2001 and 2002; and a four-lane street will be built from Airport Road on the south side of the city of Watertown to Highway 19 (Main Street) in central Watertown.
For planning purposes, the overall project has been divided into three study area segments, each having its own Study Committee to inform potentially affected communities and the public about the study process, to gather information about local needs and to help select the best solution. Segment 1, the South Segment, is the area between IH 90 at Janesville to Port Atkinson. Segment 2, the Central Segment, is the area from Port Atkinson to IH 94 at Johnson Creek. Segment 3, the North Segment, is from IH 94 to STH 60 (East) north of Watertown.
Study Committees are comprised of members from communities likely to be impacted by altematives. Each committee contains a mix of elected officials, technical staff, business and other representatives. The committees were formed in June 1999. They serve an advisory role. The authority for the final selection of each alternative rests in the chain of command of the Department of Transportation.
A list of members of each segment's study committee can be found at the bottom of each map page.
Environmental Impact Statement
In compliance with state and federal laws, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared for the proposed improvements of STH 26. The EIS will assess the environmental impacts of alternatives, including: (1) no-build, (2) improvements along the existing rural corridor, with possible relocated alignments along portions of the route, and (3) bypass comdors around the cities of Milton, Jefferson, and Watertown. At its conclusion, the EIS will recommend preferred alternatives. The draft EIS due in May 2000 may include recommendations of specific preferred alternatives.
Planning the number of and controlling the location of intersecting roads and driveways is an important consideration of this corridor study. The alternatives have been developed with the following assumptions about future access to STH 26. They assume that for bypasses, access would only be permitted at interchanges. The majority of the side roads would be connected over or under the bypass with a bridge. In a few cases, side roads may be considered for closure. In the areas on the existing roadway alignment, access would be permitted at a few side roads, or at-grade crossings. A minimal number of pnvate crossings for farming purposes only would also be allowed.
Wisconsin law defines how the Department acquires property necessary for improvement projects. The pamphlet "The Rights of Landowners Under Wisconsin Eminent Domain Law" explains this procedure, and is available today.
This goJefferson.com Web presentation of these public documents is Copyright 2004 Syndesis Corporation.