Major highway development projects are generally the most complex, costly and potentially controversial projects initiated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). They are long-term solutions to the most serious deficiencies on highly traveled segments of the highway system.
The current Majors and Southeast Mega projects and studies are shown on the map below. A PDF of the
map and project list (Updated February 2021) is available to download.
There are five key major highway development program statutes:
ss 84.013 (1) - Definition of a major highway project.
ss 84.013 (2m) - Requires the department to annually adjust the amounts specified in sub. 84.013 (1) (a) 1m and 2m to reflect the annual change in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Price Index, Yearly Moving Average, as maintained by the department. Accordingly, effective October 1, 2020, the adjusted values are as follows: $43,500,000 for subsection 1m, and $108,700,000 for subsection 2m.
ss 13.489 (1m) - Approval of the Transportation Projects Commission (TPC) required to conduct environmental study of potential major projects.
ss 13.489 (2) - WisDOT makes enumeration recommendations for Commission consideration.
ss 13.489 (4) - The TPC reviews and recommends projects for enumeration.
ss 13.489 (4) (4m) - The TPC approves ss 84.013(1)(a)(2m) high cost projects for construction as major projects.
Southeast Wisconsin freeway megaproject statutes
ss 84.0145 (1) (c) - Definition of a Southeast Wisconsin freeway megaproject.
ss 84.0145 (4) - Requires the department to annually adjust the amounts specified in sub. 84.045 (1) (c) to reflect the annual change in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Price Index, Yearly Moving Average, as maintained by the department. Accordingly, effective October 1, 2020, the adjusted value is $727,600,000.
Project evaluation process
Selecting major studies
Before projects are considered for enumeration, WisDOT conducts environmental and engineering studies so all projects brought before the TPC will have undergone an approved Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment. This ensures that only projects likely to be future major project candidates are considered for enumeration. The TPC must approve projects for environmental study.
Selecting major projects
On the basis of its knowledge of emerging needs, WisDOT recommends candidate major projects to the TPC for evaluation.
WisDOT assembles a task force of staff experts in highway design, construction, planning, economics, environmental analysis, and economic development to compile and analyze information as part of the evaluation process for major projects as provided in Administrative Rule Trans 210.
The TPC, with WisDOT's analysis and public hearing comments, recommends to the Governor and Legislature a list of major highway projects and an appropriate annual funding level to support the ongoing major highway program.
The Legislature may add or delete projects, and may change the recommended funding level from the TPC's recommendation.
Major Projects Program
major projects schedule shows the most recent listing of projects authorized for construction by the Governor and Legislature.
Report to the Transportation Projects Commission (February 2021) on major projects financial status details the current cost estimates for currently enumerated major highway projects. These reports also include details on the status of potential major highway projects under study.