Commuters in Juneau County may soon see changes to traffic on I-90/94 and WIS 82.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be working to improve and expand sections of I-90/94 and the WIS 82 interchange by Mauston and Lemonweir. Wisconsin DOT and MSA officials met with area residents to explain the project and answer questions at Mauston City Hall on Dec. 14.

MSA Project Manager Quirin Klink gave a presentation to those in attendance. “We want the public involved,” Klink said.

The WIS 82 bridges were built in 1965 and maintenance is becoming no longer viable. When the bridges are struck by vehicles, “they use heat to straighten them again,” Klink said. “And they can’t do that too many more times (or) there’s going to be a problem.”

Additionally, the ramps and pavement on WIS 82 are not up to standards. The ramps are “short and steep and there’s back-ups,” Klink said. And the pavement is in poor shape “with potholes, cracking and spalling.”

“Right now 95 percent of that construction is going to be done in one calendar year,” Klink said.

Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire attended the event. McGuire agreed that the project was necessary. “The construction that we’re talking about is something that needs to get done,” McGuire said. “That section of town, the off-ramps right before and right after are kind of dangerous driving. The ramps are too short… If they tie this into enlarging the bridges, the timing for us would be perfect.”

Design for the project began during the third quarter of 2017.The project as a whole is scheduled to end in 2023. It is broken into four stages.

Stage I

The first stage is described as prep work and is scheduled for 2021 according to information provided at the event. Work will take place entirely on I-90/94, and will “use staged construction to temporarily widen the existing westbound bridges and roadway and construct median crossovers in anticipation of the ID 106-05-70 project.”

Stage II

The second stage will move eastbound I-90/94 traffic over to the westbound side, and run four lanes of counter-directional traffic. “This will allow construction on the lanes. The ramps will be staged to allow them to remain open at all times”

WIS 82 will be reduced to one lane each way while opposite lanes are under construction. Pedestrian access will be limited to one side at a time.

If a business wants to place a sign nearby directing the public that it is open during construction, “the construction engineer and contractor will work with them.” WIS 82 traffic will have to switch sides halfway through so construction crews can work on the other side.

County G will also be temporarily closed under the interstate bridges using a detour while the bridge foundations are being constructed.

The majority of work on WIS 82 expected to be completed in 2022.

Stage III

The third stage will begin in the late winter or early spring of 2023. Westbound traffic on I-90/94 will be moved over to the eastbound side. This will require running four lines of counter -directional traffic. “Traffic control on WIS 82 should be limited to short-term lane closures during bridge foundation work. County G will be closed temporarily under the Interstate bridges using a detour while the bridge foundations are constructed.”

Construction is scheduled for 2023.

Stage IV

The final stage will remove the median crossovers and ramp crossovers. Guardrails will also be installed on the median side of each of the bridges. “(It’s) clean up work, very short,” Klink said. “But there is that last stage of work.”

The final stage is scheduled for 2023.

“All that stuff you would do with a new bridge, they’re going to do with this widening. It’s going to take a while,” Klink said.

McGuire said he did not currently have any major concerns with the project concept. “We’ve worked with MSA and we’ve worked with the DOT frequently and we’ve always been pleased with their work,” McGuire said. “We’re partners with them.”

Klink encouraged those in attendance to use the comment sheets provided by the DOT to provide feedback. Comments can also be emailed to travis.buros@dot.wi.gov.

The next public meeting is planned for the late fall of 2018.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl