The Wisconsin Department of Justice announced in a release today the signing of key documents that allow the WIS 23 expansion project in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties to move from preliminary design to final design and construction.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and WisDOT both signed the 2018 Limited Scope Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (LS SFEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD). The project has been on hold for several years due to a legal challenge from 1000 Friends of Wisconsin environmental group, which suggested the four-lane expansion of Highway 23 was not needed.
“The environmental document finalized today clearly shows a 4-lane expansion of WIS 23 is needed for safety and efficiency on the corridor,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross in the release from the state DOT. “It also addresses 100 percent of the court’s concerns that halted this project two years ago. I would like to thank FHWA and the team at WisDOT who have been working diligently to move the project forward.”
The project will reconstruct 19.1 miles of WIS 23 as a 4-lane, on-alignment divided highway from US 151 in Fond du Lac east to County P in Plymouth. Numerous WIS 23 intersections will also be improved as part of the project. Additionally, WIS 23 will be designated as an expressway to preserve future right of way for improvements that could be implemented as needed. Expressway designation is completed using authority under Wisconsin Statute 84.295(10).
WisDOT will start construction on the WIS 23 Project next summer in Sheboygan County. Reconstruction will conclude in 2022 when the Fond du Lac County portion of the project is complete.
Unfortunately, the 2020 Ryder Cup in Kohler will coincide with the construction period.
Public comments were sought from the state DOT this summer as part of the DOT effort to update the Environmental Impact Statement. The Kohler Villager, like many in Sheboygan County, submitted comments urging the putting aside of partisan politics so the project can move forward in the interest of saving lives and limbs.
The video snippet below, captured by The Kohler Villager during a drive from Kohler to Fond du Lac in 2016, shows some of the hazards of driving on Highway 23 in Sheboygan County.