Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Existing highways

The Existing Highways component of the SHR sub-program deals with improvements to the non-Corridors 2020 Backbone portion of the state highway system. It funds "3R" improvements—resurfacing, reconditioning and reconstructing existing roadways—and the minor addition of lanes, traffic and safety improvements, and minor realignments of roadway.

The types of improvement are categorized as resurfacing, reconditioning, pavement replacement and reconstruction.

  • Resurfacing: rehabilitating the surface of a pavement to provide a smoother ride and to extend the pavement's structural life. This can also include pavement widening and/or shoulder paving to improve safety and reduce shoulder maintenance costs.
  • Reconditioning: resurfacing and, in addition, improving an isolated grade, curve or intersection.
  • Pavement replacement: the highest type of "resurfacing" whereby the existing pavement structure is replaced with a new one. This does not include widening of the roadway.
  • Reconstruction: total rebuilding of the highway to provide a safer facility, to improve geometrics (i.e., longer passing and stopping sight distances, broader turning radii, additional lanes at intersections) and increased traffic-handling capabilities. Other benefits include a smoother ride, reduced travel time and lower maintenance costs.

Selecting projects

County highway committees, MPOs, local officials, legislators and the public all suggest candidate projects. In addition, any projects considered, but not selected, in the last program are also included as candidates.

WisDOT regions use a computerized model of the state highway system, coupled with occasional field reviews, to determine where deficient segments either exist or will exist in the future, and to then develop candidate improvement projects that will address those deficiencies. Regions evaluate candidate improvement projects by considering such things as priority of need, use and local interest.

They also re-evaluate projects in the last four years of the previous Six Year Program to confirm that project scopes and schedules are still appropriate. As a result, some projects can be either advanced or deferred in the next Six Year Program.

Regions submit their recommended projects to WisDOT's central office in Madison, where they are examined for compliance with guidelines and combined into a statewide program.

State Highway Rehabilitation Subprogram components:

SSI - Project contacts Questions about the content of this page:
Bureau of State Highway Programs, bshp.dtim@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: July 17, 2012

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