Busy Wisconsin Dells Parkway, the main drag in the Dells that carries hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, is headed for a major revamping starting in 2020 to make it safer.
The state Department of Transportation is having a public information meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Crystal Grand Theater, 430 W. Munroe Ave. in the Dells, to present alternatives for improving the road.
Four alternatives will be presented by the DOT for a project that has a planned 2020 construction start date.
DOT Project Manager Jeremy Krachey told Madison.com the parkway corridor, which runs from Munroe Avenue north to Broadway Street, has a crash rate more than 50 percent higher than the state average for a similar road.
The parkway averages 351 crashes a year, while the state average for a small urban state trunk highway, which the parkway is considered, is 233 crashes a year.
Most of the crashes were in the undivided southern part of the parkway, and happened in June, July and August.
"During the summer high tourist months, approximately 28,000 vehicles use the roadway every day, along with high pedestrian/bicycle usage," Krachey said.
The key is balancing getting tourists to their destination and making the parkway safer, DOT said.
"The purpose of the study and project is to develop a project, for this unique corridor, that serves as a safe transportation link between the community and the entire state," Krachey said.
The southern part of the parkway, from Wisconsin 23 (Munroe Avenue) north to County A, is an undivided roadway, while the northern part of the parkway, from County A north to Wisconsin 13 (Broadway Street) is a median-divided roadway.
DOT alternatives for the parkway range from removing more than 80 percent of the 120 driveways on the parkway while adding signals and left turn lanes, to having a loop highway built west of the parkway, making the existing road one-way going north and the new loop one-way going south.
Krachey said businesses, residents and local municipal officials have been meeting regularly as a public advisory group so the needs of those impacted by the project can be included in the project.
One of the alternatives is expected to be selected later this year or early in 2014, with an environmental impact statement completed by the end of 2014.
Final design stages would then be done, with an anticipated construction start date in 2020.
For more information about the project, contact Krachey at 608-789-5702, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details on the planned project are here.