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Madison Beltline to get additional lane to ease traffic congestion

Bird's eye view of the Beltline in Dane County
Bird's eye view of the Beltline in Dane County(WMTV)
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:37 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Construction is scheduled to start in March for a new travel lane on the Madison Beltline that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says will ease traffic congestion.

The additional lane, which Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson called the “Flex Lane,” on Wednesday, will be open during peak travel periods, morning and afternoon rush hours, special events and incidents that impact traffic.

Thompson says Flex Lane will be the first of its kind in Wisconsin, but 17 other states already have a part-time travel lane in place.

“This will improve daily life for commuters,” Thompson says. “It’s another example of the department providing a safe, cost-effective solution to address periodic and recurring congestion.”

Wisconsin DOT says the project, which is expected to be done in December 2021, will include a changeable message sign above the lane that will indicate when vehicles can use it.

According to Wisconsin DOT, a green arrow on the sign will mean the lane is open and a red X will mean the lane is closed, as demonstrated in this video.

Flex Lane is a part of a $45.1 million project that Wisconsin DOT says will also fix deteriorating pavement, improve existing drainage deficiencies and replace the current median barrier wall along the Beltline — all of which will occur between the Whitney Way exit and the I-39/90 interchange.

The Madison Region Economic Partnership Board of Directors, Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney, the Middleton Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Administrative Officer for Epic, Sverre Roang, all expressed support for the Flex Lane project, according to the Wisconsin DOT.

“Although many first responders were initially skeptical about the Flex Lane,” Mahoney says, “after learning more about the plan, including how it is utilized in other states, we believe it is a viable traffic management strategy for improving overall safety and reducing congestion on the Beltline.”

For more information on Flex Lane, visit WisDOT’s website.

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