RACINE COUNTY — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has requested the Wisconsin Department of Transportation conduct a safety analysis of the intersection at Highway 11 and Interstate 94 in Racine County.
“The life of a 20-year-old Pleasant Prairie resident was cut short following an accident near the northbound entrance ramp of the interstate,” he said in the email request to Brett Wallace, southeast region director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “Because of this tragic incident, my office has had many inquiries about the safety at that location.”
Vos met with Wallace Tuesday to discuss transportation projects in Racine County.
A preliminary investigation of the Nov. 26 fatality indicates a semi was westbound on Highway 11 and was making a left turn onto the northbound ramp to the Interstate. An eastbound passenger vehicle — driven by the 20-year-old — struck the trailer portion of the semi and became wedged underneath, the release states. That woman, Shauntia Renel Brooks-Dobbs, died at the scene.
The Foxconn project
“It’s important that a thorough review is conducted as this area is expected to see a significant increase in traffic due to the Foxconn development project,” Vos said.
“In addition, with the forthcoming expansion of the interstate, this study must be done in a timely fashion in order to allow for a robust public discussion to determine if certain improvements are necessary to ensure traffic safety.”
As part of the $10 billion Foxconn manufacturing campus, the state is widening I-94 and reconstructing the frontage roads.
The seven miles of frontage roads between highways 20 and KR in Racine County will be included in upcoming highway reconstruction.
Mike Pyritz, regional communication manager for the Southeast Region with the state Department of Transportation, said in an interview with The Journal Times on Dec. 1 that “The department is always willing to look at how an intersection works … we will adjust to the changes accordingly.”
Among the changes that could be considered for the intersection are a four-way stop, turn lanes with flashing lights or stoplights, Pyritz said.
While there is construction planned at Highway 11, Pyritz said at the time there were no plans in the works to change the configuration of the interchange.
Currently the highway on- and off-ramps at Highway 11 are circular, meaning drivers drive a 180-degree half circle before getting on or off the interstate. That is in contrast to diamond interchanges that have a straight path on or off the interstate.
Pyritz said it would be difficult to build a diamond interchange at Highway 11 because there is an overpass just north of Highway 11 that could affect on- and off-ramps. Also, he said, DOT tries to minimize the impact on property owners when there is a viable alternative.
Later this month, DOT will host a meeting in Racine County at which residents will be able to ask questions about upcoming construction, including Highway 11, Pyritz said.