Tier 1, US 8 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - Need
The US 8 EIS will help WisDOT maintain an efficient
transportation system that has the capacity to meet future traffic
demand, improve safety and correct roadway deficiencies.
The need for improvements on US 8 has been determined based on:
Capacity deficiencies Capacity refers to the number of vehicles that can safely travel
on a segment of roadway under varying weather conditions. The
capacity status of a highway is affected by its traffic volumes, the
type of traffic and the geometric layout (straight, curved, flat or
rolling) of the road.
US 8 was able to accommodate a variety of traffic for many years.
It is now serving growing numbers of commuters and tourists from the
Minneapolis/St. Paul area and central Wisconsin, as well as regional
trucking and local traffic, and is beginning to experience
According to traffic projections, traffic volumes on US 8 will
increase over 60 percent by the year 2030. Increased traffic will result in
congestion along the corridor and substantial delays for traffic on
side roads trying to access US 8.
Safety concerns US 8 has experienced higher than average crash rates within the
last five years in the urban areas of Turtle Lake and Barron.
Traffic volumes are projected to continually increase. Increased
traffic volumes result in longer, continuous traffic streams that
make it difficult for vehicles to pass or to enter the highway from
side roads. The high number of access points in Turtle Lake and
Barron also contribute to high crash rates.
Capacity deficiencies and safety concerns in Turtle Lake and
Barron indicate the potential need for bypasses of these
communities. To understand how much traffic would use a potential
bypass, WisDOT conducted Origin-Destination (OD) studies in
Barron and Turtle Lake. Study results estimated one-third of total traffic and over one-half of
truck traffic would use a bypass.
US 8 follows a rolling terrain with some sharp curves and several
steep hills in rural areas. The steep hills limit visibility at
intersections for both US 8 drivers and drivers at side roads. Many
roads intersect US 8 midway between the crest and the bottom of the
Although the shoulders meet current design standards for width,
farm equipment moving along the two-lane US 8 creates backups. In
the urban areas of Turtle Lake and Barron, there are no designated
left turn lanes. Turning vehicles must use the through lane while
waiting for a gap in traffic, thereby interrupting traffic flow and