Wisconsin DOT preps for I-39/90 expansion

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV)-- The Department of Transportation is gearing up for the next phase of the interstate expansion project in south-central Wisconsin.

I-39/90 (Source: WMTV)

Officials are planning for three new projects over the next year and a half along the interstate.

At an open house hosted by WisDOT on Monday, the focus was on the interstate between Janesville and Edgerton.

Starting in March, WisDOT will be working on three different sections of I-39/90, between the Illinois state line and Madison.

Projects include expanding to three lanes, building new entrance and exit ramps, and making interchanges longer between I-39/90 and I-43 in Beloit.

"The interstate was built in the late 50s, early 60s, so we're already at that 50-year threshold when we typically review and evaluate," said Project Communications Manager Steven Theisen.

Theisen also stressed that drivers will need to be alert and careful while driving through the work zones. Between 2017 and 2019, when WisDOT was working on I-39/90 between Edgerton and Madison, there were hundreds of crashes in work zones on that stretch.

"Just give that extra space, leave room to brake, expect the unexpected and making sure everyone can get to their destination safely. And it's as simple as putting down the phone, turning down the radio, just making sure their eyes are on the road ahead," Theisen said.

Work will also be done on the Beltline interchange in Madison. If you're coming north on I-39, the left side exit to the westbound Beltline will move to the right side.

WisDOT has also been working to address concerns from local businesses.

Brad Lawver is the general manager of Cornellier's Superstore in Beloit, just off I-39/90. Lawver said he is not too worried yet, but he is concerned about the impact more construction will have in the summer months.

"It'll probably start to amp up a little bit as it starts to warm up and that. We'll get our summer vacationers coming through," Lawver said.

To prepare, Lawver is trying to make sure his customers know what changes are coming. He said working with WisDOT has been very helpful.

"I've actually gone up and down the interstate a couple of times with some guys from the DOT," he explained.

All projects on I-39/90 are expected to be done in fall 2021. Lawver and Theisen both said they hope the final product will help support economic growth across southern Wisconsin.

"Hopefully people will just kind of weather through the storm with us, and when it's all done, we're hoping it's going to be a great thing," Lawver said.

WisDOT will hold two more open houses to explain the upcoming changes. The next open house will be on Monday, March 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pleasant Springs Town Hall in Stoughton.

The last open house will be on Thursday, March 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Home2Suites by Hilton in Beloit.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the project.