Phase two of interstate work expected soon

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Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Phase two of the Interstate 39/90 and Interstate 43 reconstruction project by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is set to start in November.

BELOIT - The first phase of reconstruction and expansion work along Interstate 39/90 and Interstate 43 in Beloit is scheduled to be completed in November, with crews set to start moving into phase two of the project next week.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, phase two work focuses on the core of the I-39/90 and I-43/WIS 81 interchange and will take two years to complete. The second phase of work will cost approximately $114.2 million and is scheduled to be completed in November 2021.

"It's been going pretty well, and we've had a lot of traffic moving through the area," said WisDOT Protect Communications Manager Steve Theisen.

Interstate 39/90 remains open to two lanes in each direction during peak travel times. Nightly single lane closures will occur on the interstates on weeknights from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. within the construction project limits. During the 2020-2021 construction seasons, one lane will be maintained in each direction on I-43, east of Beloit.

All lane restrictions, ramp closures and work operations are weather dependent and subject to change.

• Work set for Fall 2019:

Construction crews will build crossovers and temporary widening for traffic use the following year. Crews will also construct temporary ramp connections for use in 2020 to transition motorists between the two interstates. Motorists can expect weeknight single lane closures on the interstates between 8 p.m.-5 a.m., and periodic overnight ramp closures at the I-39/90 and I-43/WIS 81 interchange.

• Spring 2020-Spring 2021:

Interstate 39/90 and I-43 interchange traffic will be maintained using the temporary ramp configuration. I-43 traffic will be located on the future WIS 81 alignment near the Millington Road/Gateway Boulevard intersection, and access to Beloit will be maintained. Large flyover ramps for direct connection between I-39/90 and I-43 are expected to be built at this time.

• Summer 2020 to Fall 2021:

Interstate 39/90 traffic will begin using portions of newly reconstructed lanes and the flyover ramps, and I-43 traffic will also begin using the flyover ramps. Access to Beloit will be maintained via WIS 81 alignment near Millington Road/Gateway Boulevard intersection, and through the new Diverging Diamond Interchange. All WIS 81 traffic within the city of Beloit will be shifted over to one side of the roadway, between Branigan Road and Freeman Parkway, to accommodate construction of the other side. There will be short-term closures of interchange ramps and WIS 81 to convert all traffic to the new interchange configurations. Dates and time frames will be provided in advance of the closures. Access change for I-43 traffic to WIS 81/Milwaukee Road is anticipated to start in early fall 2021.

"Once we have the flyover ramps and large bridges people will really notice to see how things are starting to take shape by the end of 2021," Theisen said.

WisDOT is working with business leaders and the City of Beloit in preparing for expected closures during the I-43 interchange construction that will impact businesses along the interstates. Short term closures are expected next year and long term closures are expected in 2021, Theisen said, for constructing the final configuration of the interchange.

Theisen said DOT plans to meet with the city next month over future construction and public awareness plans.

As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, once the interchange work is complete, westbound I-43 interstate travelers will exit at Hart Road to access Beloit and Milwaukee Road businesses. The new interchange configuration will play out by extending WIS 81 (Milwaukee Road) and creating a connection to the Hart Road interchange. As part of the project, there will be free flow ramps from I-43 to I-90 to carry pass-through traffic, along with direct access to I-90 to Highway 81/Milwaukee Road to get into Beloit, while using a diverging diamond interchange concept. The concept will allow for direct access to WIS 81/Milwaukee Road from I-90, and from west-bound traffic to I-43 heading on the new WIS 81.

The WIS 81 expansion will move out to Hart Road/County Highway X interchange and motorists will merge to head north. Those traveling on I-43 wishing to enter Beloit will exit at Hart Road and cross over I-90 via the WIS 81 extension. Theisen said the area will look similar to the existing Gateway Boulevard with two lanes in two directions separated by a median to create a 'T' intersection at the Highway 81 extension/Gateway Blvd.

Future public meetings are set for next spring to update residents on the major construction project, Theisen said.

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