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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

Driver Alert! Recent Updates to Wisconsin’s Traffic Laws

by John Bruggeman 13. June 2016 02:37

Joanna Bush, state traffic signal systems engineer at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), provided an informative presentation at the 2016 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Traffic Engineering Workshop regarding recent updates to Wisconsin traffic laws. Some have received a lot of publicity over the last year, but there are others you may not be aware of. Updates include:

  • Maximum speed limit on freeways and expressways
  • Rules of the road when a traffic signal goes dark
  • Clear definition of the terms “flashing yellow arrow,” “pavement marking,” and pedestrian traffic signal indications
  • Right-turns on red from the left-most lane when two right-turn lanes are provided
  • Right-of-way in roundabouts for large trucks
  • Use of cell phones in construction zones

Check out Joanna’s presentation here.

Image courtesy of ITE Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Traffic Operations.

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Traffic

Grassroots Effort Brings Municipal Water to Bayside

by John Bruggeman 2. May 2016 09:33

John Bruggeman

As a traffic engineer, I don’t deal with water issues on a daily basis. However, as a resident of Bayside, Wisconsin, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a voluntary project that will provide municipal water access from the Mequon Water Utility to over 550 homes in the village.

The project started as part of a grassroots citizen effort over the past few years, initially focused on a small area of the central village, which spread to encompass large portions of eastern and northern areas of the village. Most of the homes in the project area were served by private or shared wells. Several smaller citizen-led projects, including the most recent in 2013, provided the framework for this project. I served as a block captain to inform residents in my neighborhood and encourage participation in the project. Most of our information sharing was by word of mouth, so it gave me an opportunity to get to know my neighbors better, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Several project volunteers, including project leader Penny Goldman, dedicated countless hours to the effort.

The Village of Bayside (which took no official position on the project) served as the conduit between the project and Bayside residents, offering numerous public information sessions, newsletter articles and information booths at local events. The Village also provided financing options to residents to pay for the project over a 20-year term.   
 
After 2-plus years of hard work in planning and design, the project was constructed in summer 2015. Construction started in June and was substantially complete by late fall. Final restoration and punch list items will be completed in spring 2016. The final totals included the installation of nearly 14 miles of water main, 106 fire hydrants, and 127 mainline valves for over 500 new Mequon Water Utility customers. With this project, over 85% of the Village now has access to municipal water. 

Connecting individual residences to municipal water is a costly endeavor. This project provided an “economy of scale” by getting a large group of residents to connect at one time and provide a more cost-effective solution. It is believed to be the largest project of its kind in the state of Wisconsin.

Mequon Water Utility distribution system
Image showing a portion of the Mequon Water Utility map showing the homes to receive municipal water access thanks to this grassroots effort. View the entire map below as a PDF.

Mequon Water Utility.pdf (351.49 kb)

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Municipal

I-94 North-South Project Update

by John Bruggeman 10. March 2014 03:29

The snowy, cold winter gives us some time to look back at the 2013 construction season and the new traffic signal improvements along the I-94 North-South corridor. Three new interchanges were opened in late 2013. These interchanges included some of the latest in traffic signal technology and operational features. 

The Rawson Avenue interchange provided TTI traffic signal phasing to minimize traffic backups internal to the interchange and to allow traffic to travel through both ramp intersections in one sequence. The WIS 158 interchange added new traffic signals (previously unsignalized) and provides a much needed east-west alternate route for those traveling between I-94 and the City of Kenosha. 

The new interchange at 71st Street makes up the north half of a new split diamond interchange configuration being constructed in the WIS 50 area. These signals implemented the use of the flashing yellow arrow and both GPS and Infrared Emergency Vehicle Preemption equipment. 2014 marks the final year of construction in the WIS 50 area, when the south half of the interchange will be fully complete. Upon completion, a total of six new traffic signals will service the interchange area. 

Construction will ramp back up as soon as the weather starts to warm up, so stay tuned and think spring!

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Traffic

Summer Construction Season in Full Swing: I-94 Freeway Closures Impact Local Street System

by John Bruggeman 6. June 2013 06:43

Recent construction work at the I-94 interchange and Rawson Avenue in southern Milwaukee County required full daytime and nighttime closures of the freeway system as part of the ongoing I-94 North-South project. Many motorists were detoured onto the local street system, utilizing arterials such as STH 241 (27th Street), STH 38 (Howell Avenue), STH 100 (Ryan Road), Drexel Avenue and College Avenue. These traffic impacts required signal timing modifications at several traffic signals along the detour routes to improve detour traffic flow. R.A. Smith National worked with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to anticipate traffic problems at key intersections and made the necessary timing adjustments in advance of the closures. On a recent weekend freeway closure, staff monitored field conditions and made adjustments as traffic demands shifted throughout the duration of the closure. Additional overnight and weekend closures are anticipated throughout the summer. Drivers should stay tuned to local news and online resources such as 511wi.org for the latest roadway closure information.

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Traffic

I-94 & Drexel Avenue Interchange is Open!

by John Bruggeman 5. December 2012 09:31

R.A. Smith National’s engineering staff has been busy over the last several years on several projects that contributed to the recent opening of the new I-94 Interchange at Drexel Avenue and reconstructed Drexel Avenue in the City of Oak Creek.  Our transportation and municipal services divisions were pleased to be part of this major effort to spur new development in this area and along nearby arterials such as South 27th Street.  The new interchange is the first one added to the freeway system in Milwaukee County since it was originally built in the 1970s. 

Our traffic division assisted with traffic volume forecasting in the area of the interchange and played a key role in the design of both traffic signals at the I-94 ramps as part of our on-site contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Our municipal services division provided design, ecological and environmental permitting services to the City of Oak Creek for the reconstruction of Drexel Avenue from S. 27th Street to S. 13th Street. That project involved the innovative design of a rammed aggregate pier system to serve as a road base reinforcement for a shallow embankment over a wetland.

 

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Municipal | Traffic

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