US 53, US 63-Trego Interchange, Spooner to Minong, in Washburn County.
In an effort to improve safety along US 53 in Washburn County, we have plans to construct a new interchange in Trego.
In 2014, the Department completed a planning study of the current at-grade intersections of US 53 with County E and US 63 in Trego, and identified a preferred alternative for an interchange concept. This concept includes an interchange just south of the existing County E / US 53 intersection. Additional modifications to the roadways include:
- County E/Oak Hill Drive
- The at-grade intersection of US 53 with County E/Oak Hill Drive will be eliminated due to its close proximity to the proposed US 53-US 63 interchange. Access to properties along County E and Oak Hill Drive will be provided via the newly constructed interchange and frontage road system.
- US 63/Liesch Road
- The at-grade intersection of US 53 with US 63/Liesch Road will be eliminated due to its close proximity to the proposed US 53-US 63 interchange. Access to properties along Liesch Road will be provided via a westerly frontage road that will connect to existing County E and Benson Boulevard, Wood Drive, and Liesch Road.
- Access to properties along existing US 63 between US 53 and Wild Rivers State Trail will be provided via the new US 53-US 63 interchange and realigned US 63 roadway or the easterly frontage road along US 53.
- Uncle Mike's Bar and Grill and Wild River Sport & Marine
- A shared private entrance along US 53 providing access to Uncle Mike's Bar and Grill and Wild River Sport & Marine will be eliminated due to its close proximity to the proposed US 53-US 63 interchange. Access to these businesses will be provided via a new westerly frontage road that will connect to Mackey Road and the new interchange.
In addition to evaluating the preferred alternative in the planning study, we evaluated a new interchange option that was not previously identified. This alternative was studied in depth, and information on this alternative is available under the Public Involvement page.
As part of the alternatives analysis, we also studied the possibility of constructing J-turns as a lower cost solution; however, due to traffic volumes the J-turn option does not improve the mobility or backup concerns that we are addressing with this project. We have eliminated the J-turn option as a viable solution to address the issues at the intersection.
We have reviewed the alternatives from many environmental perspectives. The preferred alternative that is chosen and constructed will ultimately be a delicate balance of design and impacts. The final layout will improve the safety concerns along with balancing the changes to the community and the environment. In November 2016, the Department held a public meeting and identified the alternative that will move forward as the preferred alternative. In November 2018, the Federal Highway Administration signed the Environmental Assessment and the Finding of No Significant Impact document. Final detail design and real estate acquisition will continue until the project is awarded to a contractor in early 2021.
The project has an estimated cost of $15-20 million.
Why is this project needed?
Crashes that have occurred along US 53 in the Trego area result in a fatality rate that exceeds the state average for similar type facilities (3.2 compared to 1.8 per million miles of vehicular traffic). In addition, seasonal peaks in traffic due to high tourism in the summer result in significant traffic delays at the US 53 – US 63 at-grade intersection for westbound US 63 traffic wanting to enter onto US 53.
It is anticipated that US 53 and US 63 will remain open to traffic at all times.
- At times, local roads may be closed to accommodate different stages of construction.
- US 53 is expected to be reduced to a single lane in each direction.
- Temporary traffic signals will be used at the existing intersection of US 53 and US 63 throughout most of construction.
Traffic Control Year 1
Traffic Control Year 2
Access to businesses will be maintained during construction, although alternative routes will most likely be required due to temporary or permanent closures of existing intersections along US 53.
Final design and real estate acquisition will occur between the fall of 2018 and fall of 2020. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2021 and continue through the fall of 2022.