August 18, 2023
By Lane Kimble
The Wisconsin DOT pitched an innovative and significant construction project in Dane County as a good way to improve safety and reduce congestion.
More than a year after completion, those notions are proving true.
This week, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) awarded Madison’s “Flex Lane” with a regional America’s Transportation Award.
The project created an additional lane along the median of the Beltline (US 12/18) without expanding the highway’s footprint when it opened in July 2022. Staff in WisDOT’s Traffic Management Center in Milwaukee can open and close the Flex Lane as needed.
WTBA-member Payne and Dolan, Inc. was the prime contractor on the $45 million project.
“A reliable infrastructure network is an important part of successful economic growth,” Madison Region Economic Partnership President Jason Fields said.
WisDOT data shows travel times have decreased 45% during peak hours. There’s been a 20% decrease in crashes along the Beltline in the past 13 months.
“This award serves as a reminder of our agency’s commitment to improving our transportation system to enhance safety and mobility for Wisconsinites and visitors,” WisDOT Sec. Craig Thompson said.
The Flex Lane was one of seven regional award winners, chosen from 23 nominations. It could become a “Top 12” finalist, making the project eligible to win a national award in November.