US 51 Corridor Study (Stoughton to McFarland)

Project location | Project overview | Study background | Schedule | Status/phase | Contact information

​Public hearing scheduled for April 20-21, 2021. Learn more​.

​​​Project location

US 51, I-39/90 (east of Stoughton) to​ US 12/18 (Beltline) north of McFarland, in Dane County

Project overview

  • The US 51 Environmental Assessment (EA) study will address corridor needs, including improving safety, pavement condition, traffic operations, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
  • The US 51 study corridor is an important regional and commuter route between Stoughton and McFarland and serves as an important link to the Madison area and beyond.
  • Alternative H has been identified as the preferred alternative, or official long-term plan, for the corridor.

Study background

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed for the corridor at the end of 2013 but was not published due to federal fiscal constraint requirements. The federal fiscal constraint requirement applied to WisDOT environmental studies requires funding for the next major action to advance the project within a reasonable timeframe. Based on statewide priorities, it was determined that the US 51 corridor alternatives proposed in the DEIS would not receive funding for the next major action to advance the project.

Options were investigated to fund a fiscally constrained improvement project that would address the existing safety, operations, and pavement issues on the corridor while still addressing the purpose and need of the study. It was determined that the most effective course of action was to modify the existing DEIS into two separate environmental documents: an EA to address near-term corridor needs and a Tier 1 EIS that would address long-term corridor needs.

In December 2015, WisDOT proposed the removal of the Tiered EIS process from the US 51 study documentation because funding for Tier 1 EIS improvements is not anticipated within the planning horizon. It could be 30+ years before improvements recommended in the Tier 1 EIS might align with funding. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) agreed to removal of the Tier 1 EIS from the study in February 2016.

In March 2016 it was determined that due to statewide priorities and funding limitations the US 51 project would not be able to obtain funding for final design and construction in 2016. As a result of the project funding delay, the completion of the study had been postponed.

In spring 2019, WisDOT resumed the study. The EA was signed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on November 24, 2020. The study team will continue to coordinate with interested parties, local officials, agencies, and committees.

Schedule

General

WisDOT and others have several projects in the development phase (Programmed Projects) that will enhance the function of US 51 until the construction of Environmental Assessment improvements are scheduled.

Current/Upcoming

  • March 2021 - Environmental Assessment (EA) available for public review and comment​.
  • April 20-21, 2021 - Public hearing with two opportunities to participate:
    1. Virtually via YouTube​ Live​ (https://youtu.be/dOtyQ​LEAscA​) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 6 p.m.
    2. In-person at the Stoughton Wellness & Athletic Center (SWAC) (2300 US 51-138, Stoughton) on Wednesday, April 21, 2021​ from 5-8 p.m.
    • In consideration of the COVID 19 pandemic, it is encouraged that the public participate in the process through the virtual public hearing component to the extent possible.
    • Attendance at the in-person hearing component will be by appointment only. Prior to the public hearing, please call WisDOT Project Manager Jeff Berens at (608) 245-2656 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment and receive further instructions regarding the in-person component.
    • Additional public hearing materials, including the public hearing presentation, handout, and exhibits are available on the Public Involvement page​.
    • Public Hearing Notice
  • June 2021 - Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact
    • Anticipated study completion

Past

2021

  • January 2021 - EA available for public review and comment/Opportunity to request a public hearing

2020

Pre-2020

Status/phase

  • The EA will document the development of alternatives that will address corridor needs that are anticipated to meet the federal fiscal constraint requirement.​

Contact information

Jeff Berens, P.E.
WisDOT Project Manager
(608) 245-2656
jeff.berens@dot.wi.gov

Steven Theisen
WisDOT Southwest Region Communications Manager
(608) 884-1230
steven.theisen@dot.wi.gov

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)
Southwest Region, Madison Office
2101 Wright Street
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: (608) 246-3800
Fax: (608) 246-3843
TTY: 711
Email: swr.dtsd@dot.wi.gov