Committee puts brakes on State Hwy. 19 reroute

Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently gave the city the option to reroute State Highway 19 to either N. Bird Street or Grand Avenue but won’t authorize a reroute on US Highway 151. Map shows existing route and two alternatives.

The City of Sun Prairie’s Public Works Committee has decided to switch gears after finding problems with possible Highway 19 reroute options.

Earlier this year, the city council made a request to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) for an alternative route to curb traffic problems.

WisDOT recently gave the city the option to reroute Highway 19 to either North Bird Street or Grand Avenue, but won’t authorize a reroute on Highway 151.

Public Works Committee members on Tuesday, Oct. 8 looked at WisDOT recommendations, but saw potential problems with both reroute options.

City staff said that a new Highway 19 designation is unlikely to impact local motorists and trucks would still need Bristol Street to get access to the business park.

“At the end of the day, I don’t feel that the traffic patterns are going to change a whole lot whether we move Highway 19 or not,” Director of Public Services/City Engineer Adam Schleicher said at the Oct. 8 Public Works Committee meeting.

Highway 19 is a designated through truck route for trucks not stopping in the city. Schleicher said complaints about truck traffic in the city prompted alders to request the reroute, but the city doesn’t have data on through truck volume.

Schleicher estimated it’s a small percentage, less than 10 percent. He said a video count survey could cost around $15,000-$20,000 but Public Works Committee members showed no enthusiasm for moving ahead with that because of the cost.

Other concerns that prompted the reroute request to WisDOT were accidents and traffic signals knockdowns at the corner of Main and Bristol streets. But city staff said since the 2018 intersection reconstruction, there haven’t been any serious incidents reported.

The Public Works Committee put the State Highway 19 reroute on hold and instead asked city staff to look at stop sign configurations at the Windsor Street and North Bristol Street intersection.

District 2 Alder and City Council President Bill Connors said that could help reduce traffic northbound on North Bristol Street and westbound traffic on Windsor Street between North Bristol Street and North Bird Street.

City staff will also study other traffic improvements and bring the information back to the Public Works Committee for review.

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