Ideally, a contractor can repair or rebuild a road more quickly
and less expensively if all traffic is removed during the work. But
that is not feasible many times if WisDOT is to maintain access to
businesses and minimize the impacts on them or if an adequate detour
is not available.
When front access for businesses is critical, WisDOT accommodates
traffic in two ways:
Under construction but open to traffic. This alternative is used
on high-volume highways like the Interstate or multilane roads where
one lane can be rebuilt while traffic is restricted on the other, or
for resurfacing on low-volume roads where suitable detours are not
available and the project can be done one lane at a time with signs
or flagging crews.
Road closed to through traffic, open to local traffic.
"Through traffic" refers to vehicles that do not have an
origin or destination inside the work zone.
Detour signs direct through traffic to an alternate route around
the work zone. WisDOT strives to keep the detour length to a minimum, making
certain the new route is in good condition and capable of safely
handling heavy traffic, including trucks. An important consideration
is whether travelers can follow the detour easily.
Through traffic drivers who choose to use closed roads are
subject to traffic tickets.
"Local traffic" refers to vehicles that do have an
origin or destination inside the work zone. This includes but is not
limited to residents, customers, business owners, delivery trucks,
emergency vehicles and school buses.
When someone needs access in the work zone, we ask them to
minimize their use of the road. This can be accomplished by using
side roads that intersect closest to the destination.
WisDOT restricts local traffic because the work zone may be filled
with trucks, earthmovers and other equipment - all moving in
different directions. When local traffic is heavy, the contractor
needs to hire flagging crews to direct traffic and prevent
collisions between drivers' vehicles and construction equipment. The
heavier the traffic, the greater the danger of collisions, delays
and increased costs.
While the contractor is required to maintain a safe and adequate
path on which local traffic can drive, the roadway may be bumpy,
dusty or muddy. Occasionally, the contractor may provide a
temporary gravel path adjacent to the construction. Sometimes, the
road may be temporarily closed to all traffic and only maintained
for emergency vehicles. It may be closed for a few hours or a few
days, and WisDOT works hard to keep the time as short as possible.
Important deliveries can be scheduled with the contractor and the
Concrete pavement requires a cure time of three to seven days,
depending on the amount of cement in the mixture. If access is given
to businesses during this time period, it is necessary to provide a
"gap" in the pavement. Such gaps require the paving
contractor to stop operations, move the paving machine ahead, and
restart the entire operations. The contractor must then fill the
gaps at a later date.
Pavement gaps delay project completion, compromise ride quality
and increase costs. The paving contractor may approach businesses to
help reduce or eliminate the need for paving gaps. For example,
businesses may be asked to share gaps. Without paving gaps,
contractors can pave nearly a mile a day. With gaps, production can
be cut in half or worse. That means overall construction will take
longer. The goal of everyone is to get the project completed as
quickly as possible at a reasonable cost.
How others did it
Many communities have successfully dealt
with construction that closed their main street and required
customers to use back streets and entrances.
One city aggressively promoted its businesses and
encouraged shoppers to park on nearby streets and come
on foot, despite the torn up street.
Businesses often spruce up their back entrances and
erect colorful signs to direct shoppers to off-street
In one southeastern community, the local newspaper
printed maps showing how to get around the detour. Other
newspapers have mapped alternate routes.
Additionally, businesses have erected signs for local
shoppers while trucks and through traffic followed the
official detour route.
Questions about the content of this
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email@example.com Last modified: November 6, 2012