Beltline ‘flex lane’ construction to begin in March

The highway improvements will be made from the Whitney Way exit to the I-39/90 interchange.
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 4:08 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 5:38 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Starting in March, construction will begin on the Madison Beltline to address a variety of issues. Crews will work to fix deteriorating pavement and improve drainage deficiencies.

A central part of the project is replacing the median barrier walls to create a part-time travel lane in the shoulder. The highway improvements will be made from the Whitney Way exit to the I-39/90 interchange.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation says a project of this magnitude will be a benefit for years to come.

🚗 FLEX LANE 🚗 : Beginning in March, construction will start on the Beltline to allow the shoulder to be used part-time...

Posted by Gabriella Rusk NBC15 on Thursday, January 21, 2021

“We’re looking toward the future as the population and jobs in Dane County continue to grow,” said Steven Theisen, the WisDOT Communications Manager. “We want to meet those needs as we move forward.”

The growing Madison area is part of the catalyst for these changes.

Bill Schaefer, the Greater Madison MPO planning manager, says the Beltline is one of the most important roadways in Dane County.

“Volumes on the Beltline are far and away the highest, even higher than all of the roadways going through the Isthmus,” said Schaefer. “It’s critically important to serve that future growth.”

Local law enforcement are optimistic that the project will lead to a reduction in rear-end crashes.

Dane County Deputy Sheriff Eric Novotny says congestion on the Beltline creates some of these incidents.

“If we could alleviate that and get people flowing more evenly than that would reduce some of the incidents that we would have to deal with during those peak hours,” Novotny said. “If we can reduce those than it makes everybody’s job getting to and from work that much more easy. It lessens my workload as well.”

He says he believes the changes will take some time to adjust to.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about it because everyone thinks it’s just a band aid or something like that,” said Novotny. “Once everybody gets used to it and accepts it and obeys it, I think it will be a very good program.”

Dane County law enforcement will work through contingency plans for accessing cars in the event of an accident.

The $45.1 million dollar project is expected to be completed by December 2021 or early 2022.

To view an educational video about how the Flex Lane works, click here.

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