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WIS 26 Construction Staging

Photo of the DDI under construction at the top and a rendering of the project color coded with the different construction stages on bottom.

KL roadway designers, traffic engineering staff, and key contributors from WisDOT met regularly to coordinate construction plans that would get the project built, while allowing the public safe access through the evolving construction zones. Two lanes of traffic were always open throughout construction. The design had to navigate a confined environment with commercial properties, while minimizing real estate impacts. It also required additional pavement width and lane adjustments to accommodate Over-Sized Over-Weight (OSOW) vehicles turning through the interchange.

“We essentially needed to design the whole interchange and then break it apart into small chunks that could be built one after another, while traffic is shifted around them. We created separate sheets in the plans to illustrate the change in a way that made sense, while staggering ramp closures with detours,” said Josh Mercier, one of KL’s design engineers for the project.

KL’s Dan Ryan led the construction staging for the project. He added, “When we set out to develop the overall traffic control/staging concept we worked with WisDOT to carefully balance the public travel demand while ensuring a safe work zone for motorists, pedestrians, and construction staff.”

There were 8 distinctly different stages required to accommodate traffic at the southbound I-39 ramp with WIS 26, and 10 stages at the northbound I-39 ramp. As construction advanced, proposed signal equipment was blended with the temporary signal system as a technique to get everything installed as efficiently as possible. Some temporary signal locations required shifting by over a hundred feet over night!

This amazing project has been honored with four awards: a 2023 WisDOT Excellence in Highway Design Award, the ASCE Wisconsin Section 2023 Engineering Achievement Award, the ACEC Wisconsin 2024 Engineering Excellence “Best of State” Award, and a 2024 ACEC National Recognition Award.

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