Improvement information

Highway improvement types


  • Completely rebuilds road.
  • Flattens curves and hills.
  • Widens pavement and shoulders.
  • Improves safety and rideability.
  • May require some land acquisition.


  • Involves reconditioning plus resurfacing.
  • Retains existing pavement core.
  • Improves roadside-shoulder widening and ditch restoration.
  • Improves isolated deficient curves, hill crests and intersections.


  • Includes new pavement and gravel shoulders.
  • Includes base patching.
  • May include intersections paving.
  • Places beam guards where needed.

Highway needing improvement:

  • Maintains specific areas of potholes, extensive cracking, uneven pavement, low shoulders and rutting.

How is deterioration of a highway measured?

Deterioration of a highway is measured by:

  • Pavement Serviceability Index (PSI): describes how smooth the pavement rides.
  • Pavement Distress Index (PDI): describes how cracked the pavement is.
  • Pavement rutting: describes the potential for hydroplaning.

Public awareness is also an important tool which keeps WisDOT informed of deteriorating roads in need of repair.

Safety is a top concern

Safety problems can often be addressed by adding or upgrading traffic signals, installing beam guards, adding turn lanes or upgrading railroad crossing warning devices. The road may also be widened and curves may be flattened to increase sight distances for motorists.