MOUNT PLEASANT — After a fatal crash on Nov. 26 at the Highway 11 on-ramp onto northbound Interstate 94, questions have been posed about the safety of the intersection, particularly with the massive Foxconn campus coming to that area.
Mike Pyritz, regional communication manager for the Southeast Region with the state Department of Transportation, didn’t have information immediately available on Friday about the number of crashes at the intersection, but he does not recall that intersection being a particular hot spot for crashes.
“The department is always willing to look at how an intersection works … we will adjust to the changes accordingly,” Pyritz said. Among the changes that could be considered for the intersection could be a four-way stop, turn lanes with flashing lights or stoplights, Pyritz said.
The fatal crash
On Nov. 26, a 20-year-old Pleasant Prairie woman died after a collision near Highway 11 and the northbound Interstate entrance ramp.
A preliminary investigation 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.
After the crash, multiple Journal Times readers expressed concerns about the intersection. A representative from state Rep. Robin Vos’ office said Vos, R-Rochester, would be asking the Department of Transportation about the intersection when he meets with them later this week. Vos’ 63rd Assembly District includes the crash site.
“Speaker Vos is meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation … to discuss the I-94 North/South project and the transportation needs of the area due to the Foxconn development. The interchange concern will certainly be on the list to discuss,” said Kit Beyer, the communications director for Vos’ office.
The Foxconn project
As part of the $10 billion Foxconn manufacturing campus, the state is widening I-94 and reconstructing the frontage roads.
The company plans to build a massive manufacturing campus on 1,198 acres east of Interstate 94. It stretches north to Highway KR and south to Braun Road. Area roads, including Highway 11, are expected to get significantly more traffic after the Foxconn campus is built, which could employ up to 13,000 people.
The seven miles of frontage roads between highways 20 and KR in Racine County will be included in upcoming highway reconstruction, according to Pyritz.
While there is construction planned at Highway 11, Pyritz said there are 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.