The state Department of Transportation is about to kick off a three-year, $78 million to $82 million project to replace 12½ miles of Interstate 94 pavement in Dunn and St. Croix counties, including the Knapp hill west of Menomonie.
“This is going to be a big one,” said Tara Weiss, a project development supervisor with the DOT’s Northwest Region. “In the next couple of weeks, people are going to see work start out there.”
The first phase of the project covers 4.47 miles between 250th Street and Wilson Creek in Dunn County and includes the replacement of eight bridges, and the second phase covers an 8-mile stretch from 250th Street to Highway 128, including six bridges.
To make sure four lanes of traffic continue to flow through the construction zone, temporary lanes and bridges will be built, Weiss said. This year traffic will be moved onto the two westbound lanes and the two temporary lanes, so work can begin on the eastbound lanes.
The 59-mile stretch of I-94 in Eau Claire, Dunn and St. Croix counties, including the project area, was dedicated on Oct. 29, 1959.
During an interview last week, Weiss shared information about more prominent DOT projects planned for the 2018 construction season.
In Chippewa Falls, the northbound Highway 124 bridge over the Chippewa River is expected to be reopened to traffic — one lane in each direction — in late spring, and construction then will shift to the southbound structure, Weiss said.
A bridge project to remove deteriorated concrete, repair decking and improve beam guard, curb and gutter, pavement marking and signage started in April 2017 on the northbound structure. Traffic — one lane ineach direction — flowed over the southbound bridge.
However, crews became aware of unexpected deficiencies of the bridge foundation at pier 3 on the northbound structure, DOT officials said, and the north- and southbound bridges were closed in June after erosion was discovered underwater.
The southbound bridge, again carrying one lane of traffic in each direction, later was reopened, but the northbound bridge has remained closed for repairs.
Northwest of the bridge, the surface on Highway 124, known locally as Rushman Drive and High Street, will be milled off from West River Street to the intersection of East Elm Street, Weiss said. The thoroughfare then will get a new asphalt surface, and some curb and gutter will be replaced.
The project is expected to begin in late May or early June and continue into the summer, Weiss said. The current plan is to close one lane at a time on the one-way stretch, so traffic can continue to flow, with periodic intersection closures for certain work operations.
“It will be a very welcome project his summer,” said Rick Rubenzer, Chippewa Falls director of public works.
North of Chippewa Falls, three bridges on Highway 124 between Highways S and 64 will be redecked, Weiss said. Traffic will be detoured during that work, which is expected to take place this summer.
Another structure on Highway 64 east of Highway 124 also is scheduled to be overlaid with concrete. Weiss said. This project will be done with single-lane traffic closures.
In Chippewa County, the pavement on ramps will be milled off and overlaid with new asphalt on U.S. 53 interchanges at Highways X (Business 29), M, O and S and on Highway 29 interchanges at Highway X and 50th Avenue. At some locations there also will be work on the pavement between ramps.
In Menomonie, rehabilitation work is planned on the southbound Highway 25 bridge over the Red Cedar River near the dam. The project includes repainting all of the steel components under the bridge, a joint replacement and a polymer overlay.
The project is scheduled to begin in mid-May. There will be single-lane closures throughout the project duration in each direction. During the summer months when UW-Stout is out of session, traffic will flow over the northbound bridge, one lane in each direction.
Eau Claire County
In Eau Claire, Highway 37 from U.S. 12 (Clairemont Avenue) south to I-94 will receive new concrete pavement, Weiss said, and a 10-foot shared-use path will be built on the east side of Highway 37 from Short Street to U.S. 12. The project will take most of the construction season.
In addition, the surface of Highway 37 south of the interstate to Highway 85 will be milled off and replaced in late summer.
Traffic will be maintained on Highway 37 during both projects, Weiss said.
In Eau Claire County, two bridges over I-94 southeast of Eau Claire — one at Hobbs Road and the other at Highway I — also will be replaced this year, with single-lane closures at night, Weiss said. The projects will be done one at a time because each will serve as a detour for the other.
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• To check up on state Department of Transportation projects, go to projects.511wi.gov/region/northwest/