Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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WIS 64 Freeway/Expressway Designation and Conversion Study - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why is the study occurring now?

WIS 64, between Houlton and the city of New Richmond, which is classified as a principal arterial and part of the National Highway System (NHS), is an important economic link between communities located in west central Wisconsin and the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota. When WIS 64 was upgraded and expanded to a four-lane divided highway, constructed to freeway and expressway standards, it represented a major investment in the transportation system of western Wisconsin and St. Croix County.

Even though the current facility is and will provide adequate mobility for some time, operational issues resulting from normal growth along the corridor are anticipated to occur at the existing at-grade intersections with the highway. This study, which is independent of the Stillwater Bridge project, is a planning and preservation project that will protect the safety and mobility of the traveling public by identifying the necessary future improvements and right of way needs to designate and physically convert the facility to a freeway and expressway. These future improvements will be local road grade separations that provide connectivity to either side of the highway and possible parallel local connection roads to existing interchanges with WIS 64.

What are the study limits and what does is consist of?

The study limits are located between the St. Joseph town line (150th Avenue) and WIS 65 in the city of New Richmond, an overall distance of approximately 12 miles. It will consist of declaring a nine mile section, from the St. Joseph town line to 110th Street, as a freeway and the remaining three mile section, from 110th Street to WIS 65, as an expressway, all under Wisconsin Statutes 84.295. From start to finish, the study will take roughly two years to complete and will include two main phases:

  • A study and Environmental Assessment (EA) phase to identify a range of alternatives that can be evaluated for social, cultural, and environmental impacts. A Preferred Alternative will be identified at the conclusion of the EA.
  • An Official Map will be developed for the Preferred Alternative as the last stage of the study to preserve the needed right of way to close or convert the existing at-grade intersections to grade-separated crossings and provide local road connections to the existing interchanges. All stages of the study will include public involvement and coordination with federal, state, and local agencies.

What will be the results of the study?

An official map and documentation declaring the facility as either a freeway or expressway will be the end products of this effort.

When would construction occur?

This project is a planning and preservation effort and as such there are no immediate plans or allocated funds for construction at this time, in fact, the department does not foresee any improvements to physically convert WIS 64, within the study area, to a freeway for another 15 or more years. The focus of the study is to preserve right of way now for anticipated improvements before development within the corridor precludes future transportation options.

What is the Environmental Assessment (EA)?

An Environmental Assessment (EA) will be completed for the alternatives developed through the study process. The environmental document follows rigid federal and state guidelines to ensure that a full range of potential social, cultural, and environmental effects are considered. The EA process will evaluate and compare the effects of each alternative to determine which option achieves the goals of the study with the least impacts.

What is an official map and how does it work?

The official map is a statutory tool that is available to governments in Wisconsin as planning implementation device to preserve transportation corridors. In Wisconsin, the Department of Transportation can officially map future right of way needs in association with freeway or expressway declaration under 84.295(10). An official map can be an effective tool to limit or prevent improvements on lands that have been designated for future public use, thus saving additional acquisition costs thereby saving taxpaying monies.

I live within the study area, how will the study affect my property?

The greatest affect on lands will be between the village of Somerset and the 110th Street interchange west of the city of New Richmond. This is where the right of way needs for future improvements will be officially mapped. West of Somerset, the existing facility is already constructed to freeway standards and only requires a freeway declaration and east of 110th Street WIS 64 has been constructed to expressway standards and only requires expressway declaration.

How do I stay informed about the project?

Mailing list - If you received information in the mail, you are already included in the study mailing list and will automatically receive future mailings. Other opportunities to be added to the mailing list include:

Check back to this website for updates.

Who do I contact with questions?

Contact the Study Team.

SSI - Project contacts Questions about the content of this page:
WisDOT Northwest Region Office, nwr.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: November 4, 2014

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