Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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US 12 Corridor Study - Need/purpose

Congestion in downtown Fort Atkinson.
Most Fort Atkinson residents feel congestion is increasing on US 12.

Back-up in downtown Fort Atkinson.
Back-ups are frequent and result in a low level of service.

Note - WisDOT has stopped all work on the study of a future US 12 Bypass through the town of Koshkonong south of Fort Atkinson. The final disposition of the study will be determined at a future date by the Transportation Projects Commission. (May 3, 2012)

Needs assessment (NA)

Mar. 2001, WisDOT officials initiated the US 12 Corridor Study Study with a NA that identified existing transportation problems along the corridor in and near Fort Atkinson.

The NA, and additional studies and updates, conducted during the environmental impact study were an extensive research effort based upon public input, future land use analysis and projected traffic volumes.

The purpose was to assist WisDOT in identifying needs and public sentiment toward possible improvements to US 12.

Three primary reasons to further investigate improvement options for US 12 Corridor Study surfaced:

  • Regional mobility inefficiency
  • Safety and congestion problems
  • Public support for improvements
  • NA summary

Regional mobility inefficiency

An origin-destination survey conducted in 2001 found that more than 3,000 vehicles a day would use a US 12 bypass south of Fort Atkinson if it were already in place. Almost 500 of those vehicles would be heavy trucks. Currently, these vehicles must pass through Fort Atkinson, which increases travel time and adds to local congestion.

In 2007, the traffic study was updated using the Statewide Travel Demand Model. The update shows that by 2035, US 12 within Fort Atkinson will approach capacity. The update also shows that a southern bypass route would carry more than enough traffic in 2035 to warrant building a four-lane freeway type bypass facility.

Congestion and safety problems

Traffic studies show that many of the streets that make up US 12 within Fort Atkinson are predicted to have traffic volumes approaching roadway capacity in 2035. As time goes on, users will experience increasing levels of congestion, which will result in added delay at intersections and a rise in crashes.

Some intersections currently have a higher than average crash rate. Details related to safety are discussed in Section 3 of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Public support for improvements

During the NA, the St. Norbert College Survey Center conducted a telephone survey among 400 residents in the study area. Survey results indicated a strong consensus among respondents that there are safety and congestion problems on US 12:

  • About 80 percent of respondents agreed there were safety problems along the corridor
  • About 70 percent of respondents agreed there was congestion along the corridor
  • About 50 percent of respondents said congestion was getting worse along the corridor

Resolutions passed in Fort Atkinson and the town of Koshkonong also supported a need to look for solutions to these problems.


The results of the NA were to proceed with looking at solutions to the problem by developing and analyzing several alternatives including a bypass.

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Questions about the content of this page:
WisDOT Southwest Region Office-Madison, swr.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: June 18, 2013

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