Communities Rally Around New Highway 29 Interchange
Written By: Troy Robillard, PE, Ayres
When communities come together for the common good of a region, amazing things can happen.
Such was the case when northeast Wisconsin stakeholders were planning a new diamond interchange along State Trunk Highway 29 to bring much-needed safety improvements and business opportunities to the area just west of Green Bay.
Ayres led the design of the $24 million interchange, which replaced an at-grade crossing at County Highway “VV” and creates a connection among several communities. The design team worked closely with Brown County, the Villages of Hobart and Howard, and the Oneida Nation on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) project.
The new interchange has been over 12 years in the making, and Ayres has had a hand in its transformation every step of the way. Ayres began designing the interchange in 2010 for WisDOT with the knowledge that the plans would be put on the shelf until more funding could be secured.
In 2018, Brown County received a federal grant worth nearly $20 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program to revive the dormant project. Ayres staff participated in helping to secure the grant. The federal funds supported an interchange with a new bridge crossing Highway 29, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and roundabouts at the ramp terminals and nearby intersections.
Pedestrians and cyclists now face much less danger when crossing Highway 29, and motorists have been given much safer access to local businesses, including the popular Maplewood Meats retail store. The former Highway 29/Highway “VV” intersection had historically been a high-crash site.
This project had a large public involvement component. The new interchange is along the boundary of the Villages of Hobart and Howard, as well as the northern boundary of the Oneida Nation. Based on the results of an intersection control evaluation effort and public involvement, roundabouts were selected as the best alternative at four locations.
Once BUILD funds were secured, the project had an accelerated design schedule to meet funding requirements. Construction began in 2021 and wrapped up in fall 2022.
The project addressed the following needs:
- Access and mobility barriers as a result of the expressway system.
- Roadway and safety issues resulting from the varying travel speeds and at-grade access points.
- Multimodal accessibility issues resulting from a lack of appropriate accommodations crossing the high-speed and high-volume Highway 29 roadway.
- Freight movement issues for area businesses on both sides of the highway that require safe and convenient access.
- School transportation issues resulting from a rural school district (Pulaski) with students on both sides of Highway 29, requiring a safe and efficient crossing of the roadway.
- Coordination with local land use/transportation/economic development planning efforts.
About the Guest Blogger
Troy Robillard, PE, is a transportation manager and engineer at Ayres and served as project manager for the Highway 29/Highway “VV” Interchange project near Green Bay.
Ayres, a long-time member of ACEC Wisconsin, is a team of 350+ innovative problem-solvers nationwide, standing with integrity behind thousands of projects that strengthen communities and our country’s infrastructure, economy, and environment. Ayres is based in Eau Claire; it has four additional offices in Wisconsin, as well as offices in California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and Wyoming.