WIS 32 was originally constructed in the 1930’s and the last major
rehabilitation project was in 1983. The underlying pavement structure
has reached the end of its useful life and is due for reconstruction.
Other deficiencies include narrow shoulders, increasing congestion at
6 Mile Road & WIS 31, poor drainage along the roadway and safety
concerns as volumes increase.
A primary driver of the project is the need for safety and
operational improvements to the intersections of WIS 31 and WIS 32
with 6 Mile Road. Each intersection has a significant crash history
and analysis indicates poor intersection mobility in the future
The resurfacing project completed in 2009 was a short term
improvement expected to last 5-10 years until the roadway is
reconstructed. The pavement is already showing numerous cracks and
other distress, which is expected given underlying deficiencies and
the overall age of the roadway.
Future traffic volumes warrant the construction of a 4-lane
facility and it would be fiscally irresponsible to reconstruct the
roadway in its current configuration without planning for the future.
Widening WIS 32 is also recommended in the region transportation plan
(SEWRPC Planning Report No. 49, A Regional Transportation System Plan
for Southeastern Wisconsin: 2035).
The 2006 reconstruction of WIS 31 was planned with a future 4-lane
expansion in mind, however current and projected future volumes don’t
yet warrant the additional lanes. Conversely, WIS 32 in this area
currently carries twice the traffic volume of WIS 31.
Why was a roundabout selected for the
intersection of WIS 32, WIS 31 and 6 Mile Road?
WisDOT has reviewed an extensive number of designs for the
intersections of WIS 32, WIS 31 and 6 Mile Road. The close proximity
of the intersections is a unique situation that creates challenges to
improving safety and mobility while minimizing property impacts. A
single roundabout offers the greatest safety and mobility at the
lowest cost and least overall impact to neighboring properties.
Why not just add signals to the
intersections of WIS 31/WIS 32 and WIS 31/6 Mile Road?
A signalized intersection concept was presented to the public in
September 2010. The signal concept displaced 4 businesses and 3
residences (while a single roundabout displaced 1 business and 4
residences). In addition, signalized intersections at this site
wouldn’t provide for efficient movement of traffic due to the close
spacing of WIS 31 and WIS 32, i.e., the vehicle queue from one signal
would block the adjacent intersection.
Why is WisDOT not proposing a continuous
paved median, also known as a Two-Way Left Turn Lane (TWLTL)?
A median is a raised divider in the center of a road that separates
opposing traffic and discourages or prevents vehicles from crossing
the divider. Medians can have a profound effect on driver safety
compared to two-way left-turn lanes. Adding a median to a road that
previously had a continuous two-way left-turn lane can reduce the
crash rate about 37% and the injury rate about 48%. One reason a
two-way left turn lane is less safe than a median is that a driver who
is turning left onto the highway must be able to ensure that the
traffic is clear from two directions in multiple lanes. When this is
not quite possible, drivers will sometimes use a two-way left-turn
lane in the middle of the road while attempting to merge into traffic.
Such maneuvers can lead to serious crashes and become more frequent as
traffic volumes increase.
Highway reconstruction projects utilizing federal funds are
required to incorporate pedestrian facilities with limited exceptions,
none of which are applicable to the WIS 32 project. More recently,
Wisconsin enacted state statute 84.01(35) which requires WisDOT to
“ensure that bikeways and pedestrian ways are established in all new
highway construction and reconstruction projects funded in whole or in
part from state funds or federal funds…”
This project will propose some private access modifications and
change the ability of motorists to turn left into and out of
driveways. This is being proposed primarily for safety. Studies have
shown that roads with well-managed access are often 40 to 50 percent
safer than poorly managed routes.
Each access point creates potential conflicts between through
traffic and traffic using that access. Managed access improves safety
by separating access points so that turning and crossing movements
occur at fewer locations. This allows drivers passing through an area
to predict where other drivers will turn and cross, and also provides
space to add turn lanes.
Will this project connect to the
Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha multi-use trail (MRK trail) that runs along
the railroad tracks to the east?
The project will indirectly connect to the trail via 5 Mile Road
and 6 Mile Road. WIS 32 will have paved bike lanes and sidewalks that
enable bike and pedestrian travel throughout the project limits for
connection to these side roads and access to the multi-use trail.
Will this project complete the gap in the Racine
multi-use trail from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road?
No, completing the gap in the MRK trail from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile
Road is a local / county effort that is beyond the scope of WisDOT’s
WIS 32 project. The WIS 32 project will however provide an on street
bike lane or wide paved shoulder from 6 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road.
WisDOT intends to provide proper roadway drainage and minimize
drainage impacts on adjacent properties. While it is the
responsibility of WisDOT to provide for adequate drainage within
highway right of way, it is beyond WisDOT’s jurisdiction to alter
regional drainage patterns. WisDOT can’t control the amount of water
draining toward the highway, nor can WisDOT prevent this water from
traveling downstream. Drainage concerns that exist outside the state
highway or on a regional basis should be discussed with the local
WisDOT will be working with homeowners to maintain sump pump
drainage, either by allowing connections to the roadway storm sewer,
or where topography allows, by re-directing discharge pipes away from
the roadway. Evaluation of sump connections will begin shortly by
contacting property owners to determine the number and location of
existing sump pump drainage pipes.