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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 25, 2022
The center traffic lanes of West Washington Avenue will be closed in both directions at the intersection with Bedford Street starting Monday.

The center traffic lanes of West Washington Avenue will be closed in both directions at the intersection with Bedford Street starting Monday.

City of Madison works to redesign ‘hairball’ intersection

The infamously dangerous intersection at John Nolen Drive, South Blair, East Wilson and Williamson streets Downtown is to undergo a massive reconstruction project.

The city of Madison is redesigning a notoriously dangerous downtown intersection with hopes of making it safer and more efficient.

The new plan to improve the “hairball” intersection has been in the works for many years. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, from 2011 to 2015, there were 92 total reported crashes at this intersection. 

Four roads, a bike path and a train crossing all meet at this messy intersection. The city of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation have come up with a plan to completely redesign the intersection.

The new plan will implement new left-turn lanes on John Nolen Drive and S. Blair Street, along with brand new medians. The city will also remove a problematic driveway to Machinery Row, a nearby bike shop. This driveway is being removed because it allows vehicles to make unexpected turns, which has been dangerous in the past.

The city will also replace the sanitary and storm sewers within the project limits and implement new pedestrian scale lighting on South Blair Street. Additionally, there will be railroad crossing improvements to allow for the installation of a quiet zone, which requires trains to cease the routine sounding of their horns when approaching a crossing.

The construction of these improvements is expected to cause traffic disruptions and inconveniences for bikers, motorcyclists and pedestrians. 

“A lot of people use this area and so we also recognize that it can be disruptive,” City Engineering Public Information Officer Hannah Mohelnitzky said. 

Mike Verveer, District 4 alder, said that the project has been highly anticipated for many years now.

“I’m confident that the plan now under construction will greatly improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Law Park and the surrounding area. Most important, it will improve safety for all involved,” Verveer said.

Major excavation will begin on April 1 and will be completed in the fall.

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