Lunda Construction Co. and Wisconsin DOT Partner on $482M WIS 441 Tri-County Project
With six projects underway and six complete, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has made significant progress in reconstructing and expanding a major highway with the $482 million WIS 441 Tri-County Project.
"The project is increasing the capacity of US 10/Wisconsin 441, adding a new lake crossing bridge and adding missing movements at the I-41 interchange," says Kurt Peters, Construction Project Manager for the Wisconsin DOT.
The work began in the summer of 2014 and expands 6 miles of U.S. 10/WIS 441 from four lanes to six lanes through Winnebago, Outagamie and Calumet counties; reconstructs five interchanges and the Roland Kampo Bridge; and adds a second parallel bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts. All are paved with concrete.
The crash rates on U.S. 10/WIS 441 are higher than statewide averages for similar highways in urban areas. WisDOT is flattening curves to increase safety and to maintain the 65 mph speed limit. Currently, traffic must slow down on the curves. The additional lane in each direction will accommodate an expected increase in traffic volume.
WisDOT divided the project into 28 different jobs and has let each as funding became available. Six jobs are complete, six are under construction and 16 remain to be let. Some projects were advanced as additional money became available.
Lunda Construction Co. of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, began constructing a 22-span, prestressed concrete girder bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts in the fall of 2014. The foundation is steel H piles. The bridge is more than 3,400 feet long and 65 feet above the water, which is primarily used by recreational boaters.
"The majority of the girders had to be set from cranes floating on barges and floating the barges into place," Peters says. "It was challenging work."
Lunda used a beam launcher to transfer the girders to the barges. The barges were then floated into place.
Peters expects the new bridge to open to traffic this fall. At that time, all traffic will switch to the new bridge, and rehabilitation work will began on the existing bridge. That project will remove the existing deck, realign the entrance and exit, and replace the deck with concrete. Each bridge will have four lanes of traffic, with full-width shoulders.
More Projects Under Way
Work continues on the I-41 and U.S. 10/WIS 441 interchange. Lunda Construction is building the new U.S. 10/WIS 441 eastbound concrete-girder structure over I-41. It goes over the southbound collector distributor roadways and railroad tracks. A lot of coordination had to take place between the railroad and utility companies to fit the piers into the existing landscape. That project began in summer of 2015 and will complete in fall 2016.
"We had a lot of staged traffic to do to keep the loop ramp open during construction," Peters says.
Also under way is a project widening I-41 from the U.S. 10/WIS 441 interchange to the Winchester Road. Part of the reason for this portion of the project is to accommodate improved ramps at that U.S. 10 interchange. Scope includes widening three bridges, two with steel girder over a road and rail tracks and one with concrete girders over a roadway, and adding two ponds for stormwater detention. Work began this year and should finish in 2017.
"We are dealing with a lot of bedrock and have had to blast a lot," Peters said.
The Racine Road interchange also is under construction. Work began last year with the placement of wick drains and fill to expedite settlement due to poor soil conditions. Under a separate contract, ramps have been constructed and will open this fall.
WisDOT is adding a roundabout on Racine Road and realigning the roadway. The city portion was scheduled to open by the end of August and the entire project by November.
"We are pro-roundabout," Peters says. "We have seen great safety improvements with roundabouts. They have been successful for the Wisconsin DOT."
Just getting under way is a large structure project on westbound U.S. 10, with the rehabilitation of a lake crossing bridge and adding three bridges to the end of it, making the I-41/U.S. 10/WIS 441 interchange three levels. One of the bridges will have steel girders and the other two are prestressed concrete girders. The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Some initial wetland mitigation projects have been completed during the past two years. Early fill and drainage projects were completed about a year ago.
The Appleton Road Interchange wrapped up in fall 2015. The department converted the interchange from signalized ramp terminals to roundabout controled ramp terminals, only closing the road for 75 days.
"It was a very expedited schedule that required day and night and weekend work," Peters says.
Construction of the Midway Road interchange will start in 2017. Work includes flattening horizontal curves on U.S. 10/WIS 441 and adding additional lanes to that road.
Improvements at the Oneida Street interchange to the Valley Road and Midway Road intersections to handle additional traffic are scheduled to begin construction in 2018.
WisDOT plans to start construction on the WIS 441 mainline southbound, from Midway Road to Oneida Street, in 2019 and the northbound lanes in 2020.
Also expected to start in 2020 is the addition of a diverging diamond interchange at U.S. 10 and Oneida Street. The diverging diamond should better handle large volumes of ramp traffic. This project also will include reconstruction of Oneida Street from Valley Road to Midway Road 10.
Peters expects the entire project will complete in 2021. It remains on schedule and within budget.
"It's been a great project to be involved with," Peters says. "We have many projects going on at the same time, with many contractors and municipalities."
Photos courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Transportation