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Carmichael Corridor study shows need for changes

A map of Carmichael Corridor on display during an open house in September 2017 shows the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and city of Hudson’s preferred plan for the Interstate 94 interchange. A study of Carmichael Corridor shows the plan will be necessary to deal with future traffic flow. Map by SRF Consulting Group, Inc.

Traffic will continue to increase in the already busy Carmichael Corridor as new developments come to the city, a study of the area showed.

Short Elliott Hendrickson traffic consultant Glen Van Wormer presented findings from the Carmichael Corridor study to the Hudson Common Council on Monday, Jan. 8.

Van Wormer said the city can use this study to develop concepts to address the issues present. Once those options have been explored Van Wormer said they can then go to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to present the findings.

The study looked at current traffic volumes, turning movements and trip generation based on land use of each property from single-family dwelling to commercial.

It also looked at future land use, using the city's comprehensive plan to determine potential developments in certain areas.

"What we have is I think some pretty accurate future trip information in the corridor," Van Wormer said.

All together the traffic forecast includes existing volumes from 2017, new volumes from specific developments like St. Croix Meadows, potential vacant land development and background growth, which includes growth in the areas around Hudson that could affect traffic.

All of the information is used to generate a traffic simulation for the corridor.

"It provides a visual for this traffic flow," Van Wormer said.

The study found that previous WisDOT predictions underestimated the future traffic flow. Van Wormer said this is because WisDOT did not have information on current development like St. Croix Meadows or Carmichael Ridge. He said that is why the city is continuing to work on ideas, with plans to bring this information back to WisDOT once the city is comfortable with it.

With the anticipated traffic, changes will be needed to accommodate. Van Wormer said the WisDOT preferred alternate plan for the Carmichael Road and Interstate 94 interchange is needed. This plan adds loops to the northeast and southeast as well having the east ramps connect to I-94 at Coulee Road and Crest View Drive. It gets rid of left-turning traffic in the bridge area, Van Wormer said.

The eastbound off ramp in particular could be a problem area, Van Wormer said.

Carmichael Road north of the interchange will also need to be expanded with turn lanes and a median.The intersection of Vine Street and Carmichael Road also needs improvement, Van Wormer said.

A simulation showing the preferred alternate with 2025 predicted traffic at peak hours showed traffic would flow reasonably well with back ups on the eastbound offramp.

"There is a limit to what we can do," Van Wormer said. "But it does give us a lot of opportunities to look at the traffic and try to visualize what can be done."

Council member Randy Morrissette asked if the city should be looking further into the future than 2025. Van Wormer said the study looked at both the 2025 and 2040 time periods. The focus was on a realistic figure for 2025, because the city needs to make sure that works before it can add more traffic from there.

"We're not saying we quit at 2025," Van Wormer said.

Both Council member Jim Webber and citizen Marian Webber expressed concern about bike and pedestrian friendliness in the corridor. Marian Webber said the area is already highly used by bicyclists and school children, and that transportation issues should not just focus on transportation for cars, but for bikes and pedestrians as well.

While conducting the study, Van Wormer said they found the current signal coordination system is not working. He said that can be fixed this spring.

Van Wormer said the study still has another month's work of work to do.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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