US 51 Corridor Study (Stoughton to McFarland)

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

​​​​​​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 addresses 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.

On August 17, 2021 FHWA approved a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the preferred alternative. This completes the US 51 corridor study.





  • April 20-21, 2021 - Public hearing
    • Additional public hearing materials, including the public hearing presentation, handout, and exhibits are available on the Public Involvement page.



​Study completed; transition to design.

Contact information

​Jeff Berens, P.E.
WisDOT Project Manager
(608) 245-2656

Steven Theisen
WisDOT Southwest Region Communications Manager
(608) 884-1230

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: ​​​