Meetings will look at Beltline corridor

Even as construction continues along various parts of the Madison Beltline highway, officials are looking for ways to address safety and mobility issues from Middleton to Cottage Grove.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will hold five public information meetings – including one in Fitchburg and one in Verona – to introduce the Madison Beltline study that will identify and evaluate a range of potential strategies along the highway corridor, WisDOT Southwest Region Project Manager Larry Barta said in a news release.

“The Madison Beltline links southwest Wisconsin to the nation, and provides an important connection between neighborhoods, businesses, communities, and regions,” Barta said. “Public participation will be critical to the study, and we encourage Beltline users as well as the general public to participate in this major effort.”

All five public meetings will present the identical information about the Beltline and will focus on study goals and objectives. They will be held on the following dates, times and locations:

• Monday, Sept. 9, Savannah Oaks Middle School, Fitchburg, 5890 Lacy Road: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

• Tuesday Sept. 10, Monona Community Center Main Hall, 1011 Nichols Road: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

• Wednesday, Sept. 18, Madison Boys & Girls Club, 4619 Jenewein Road: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with presentations at 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

• Thursday, Sept. 19, Westport Administration Building, 5387 Mary Lake Road, Waunakee: 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

• Monday, Sept. 23, Middleton City Hall, 7426 Hubbard Avenue: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with presentations at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Interested persons may attend any time during the allotted meeting times to review displays and other study materials, ask questions, and provide comments. WisDOT project staff will be available to explain the PEL study process and answer questions.

Initially constructed in the late 1950s, the Beltline is now a main east-west highway in the greater Madison area, carrying up to 112,000 vehicles per day. A 2008 operational needs assessment documented a number of deficiencies along the corridor. The deficiencies have grown to a level that Wisconsin’s Transportation Projects Commission authorized the study of long-term solutions addressing the following Beltline issues:

• Travel demand and congestion

• Roadway safety concerns

• Limited accommodations for and integration of alternate travel modes

The initial phase of the study is called Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL). During the PEL phase, multiple corridors and strategies will be evaluated to determine how they address key needs. The PEL final report is expected in 2015.

Recommended strategies and corridors will then be carried forward and examined in a future National Environmental Policies Act (NEPA) study, such as an environmental impact statement.

Additional information on the study can be found at madisonbeltline.dot.wi.gov.

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