WIS 21 official mapping process

​The page provides frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) official mapping process for the WIS 21 planning study. It also discusses a property owner's rights when property is on a recorded and maintained official map.

NOTE: The WIS 21 Planning Study has concluded and stopped short of officially mapping future highway needs and designating WIS 21 as a expressway. The planning data and recommendations provided in this study can provide a good foundation when/if this stretch of WIS 21 is converted to an expressway in the future.

What is an official map?

An official map is a recorded document that demonstrates the location and amount of private land WisDOT will need to purchase in the future for highway right of way. Wisconsin State Statute 84.295 authorizes WisDOT to officially map future right of way needs for expressways and freeways only.  The official map is created only after an extensive study of many issues and coordination with landowners, local governments, agencies and other stakeholders, culminating with a public hearing to review. An official map cannot be used to purchase the right of way. That requires a right of way plat, which is created later on, a few years before the physical construction of the freeway or expressway. There is NO construction scheduled for WIS 21.

What is the WIS 21 study’s current schedule for official mapping?

Below is a schedule of past and upcoming activities that track the WIS 21 study’s mapping development. Dates are tentative:

  • April 22, 2015 Public involvement meeting (PIM) - Public input on recommended expressway alternative and discussion of official mapping.
  • Summer 2015 – Selection of preferred alternative.
  • Summer 2017 - Approval of Environmental Assessment (EA).
    • A public hearing on the signed Environmental Document (ER) will be held in conjunction with the fall 2017 public hearing, if requested. The signed ER will be posted and public comment solicited.
  • Fall 2017, Public Hearing - Public hearing to seek public input on expressway declaration and official mapping that is based on the preferred alternative.
  • Fall 2017 - Submit documentation declaring the facility a future expressway and record the official mapping.

Why will WisDOT create an official map?

An official map provides landowners and local governments the ability to plan their futures and develop their lands in ways that avoid future highway improvements. Developers can be confident that expensive new investments will not be negatively impacted by the new freeway or highway. Local zoning can be altered such that the lands are preserved for future highway use. Ultimately, mapping greatly increases the likelihood that the land needed for the future improvement will remain available and at a reasonable cost, saving taxpayers’ money and avoiding the need to move the proposed roadway somewhere else that is less desirable.

What will WisDOT officially map?

WisDOT will map and preserve land required to convert WIS 21 to a 4-lane expressway under Wis. Stats. 84.295. It will also include right of way needed at each of the intersections and for highway drainage.

How accurate is the official map?

We tend to map conservatively making sure we have enough land for all future needs. The expressway plans themselves will show direct impacts of the design with a bit of a buffer to demonstrate proposed future right of way. Existing and future right of way along with identification of current land owners is also shown for accurate recording.

What are the rights of property owners?

If your property falls within the area shown on the WisDOT official map, you will:

  • Receive a formal letter from WisDOT informing you of this.
  • Have the official map notification recorded on your property.

The only requirement is that you must notify WisDOT 60 days in advance of any construction on the portion of your property that is within mapped limits. This is defined as erecting or moving a new structure onto the property, or in some way altering an existing one. Upon receipt of that notification from the landowner, WisDOT will make a determination to either purchase the property at fair market value or allow the proposed private alteration to occur. If the property is acquired at a later date, the owner will receive full compensation for the alteration.
If a landowner makes any alteration to the mapped portion of the property without providing this notification, WisDOT is not required to compensate the owner for that improvement if/when WisDOT decides to purchase the property. Maintenance by the property owner preserves the value of the property and generally does not require notification for authorization complete.

What if I want to sell my property?

Having your property on an official map doesn’t affect your right to sell the property. Sellers should tell prospective buyers that the property is on an official map. Once officially mapped and recorded, a title search for the property should also identify it as being officially mapped.

For additional Information regarding the WIS 21 planning study, please contact

Bryan Lipke, P.E.
WisDOT Northeast Region
944 Vanderperren Way
Green Bay WI 54304
920 492-5703