Bypass around Verona, WI in metro Madison.
Project Type:Bypass Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:47,010 Length (mi):2.70
Economic Distress:0.70 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):391 Population Growth Rate (%):1.49
Employment Growth Rate (%):2.00 Market Size:285,644 Airport Travel Distance:13.6333 Topography:14
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:WI County:County
City:Verona Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:42.985486 / -89.533401
Initial Study Date:N/A Post Constr. Study Date:2000
Constr. Start Date:1990 Constr. End Date:1995
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):25,600,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):30,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):42,382,480
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||13569800.00||9607970.00||23177770.00|
|Output (in $M's)||36276200.00||25685100.00||61961300.00|
The 2.7-mile four-lane bypass around downtown Verona has significantly affected the economic and geographic structure of this growing suburb of Madison, WI. The bypass has pulled development southward, resulting in a more balanced pattern of growth that has served to strengthen downtown and to mitigate sprawl. Five years after construction was complete, commercial developments began to gravitate to greenfield sites around the bypass, bringing over 4,000 jobs to Verona. However, most of this activity would have located on other sites within Dane County if the Verona Bypass sites were not available. The net employment impact of the project is estimated at approximately 300 jobs.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Verona, in the southwestern quadrant of the Madison metro area, is a 20-minute drive from downtown Madison. The city is located at the junction of Highways 18/151 and 69, southwestern Wisconsin's main east-west travel corridor. The city has north-south access via I-39, fourteen miles to the east. Verona also has interstate links to the east -- Milwaukee is 90 miles east via I-94 and Chicago is 150 miles southeast via I-94 and I-90.
There is no convenient interstate access to the west, but Highway 151 has been upgraded to a four-lane limited access route along the 90 mile stretch running from Madison to the Iowa state line at Dubuque. Amtrak service to Chicago (3.5 hours) runs four times a day from Madison. Affordable air service is available from Madison Airport, 14 miles to the east.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Verona, Wisconsin, which bills itself as ?Hometown, USA?, was originally a market center for surrounding farms in rural Dade County. It is now a growing satellite suburb of Madison. The city's population has nearly doubled since 1990, having grown by annexation of rural development areas, and currently stands at about 10,400 residents. Half of Verona's workforce commutes to Madison for work, 5 to 10 miles away.
In the 1990's, the city decided to try to diversify its tax base away from dependence on residential property. The new bypass provided greenfield sites at interchanges for new development. The city started to annex new areas on the south side of the city near bypass exits for commercial developments and to designate them as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) districts. Consequently, employment in the town grew by 60% between 1994 and 2000. The town's major employer is Epic Systems, a large purveyor of medical scheduling software, with 3,000 employees, which located on a large greenfield site on the Verona bypass.
The city originally developed in a typical sprawl pattern along Highways 69 and 151. Now, due in part to the bypass, it is beginning to fill and to grow away from these main axes. There is no traditional downtown area. Verona has a Super 8 Motel and a Holiday Inn Express that serve mainly business clients. Until recently, residents had to drive to Madison for all but convenience goods shopping.
The Highway 16/151 bypass at Verona forms a semi-circular beltway to the south of the city, at a radius of about 1.5 miles from the center. The four-lane freeway is 2.7 miles long and has four interchanges. Construction on the bypass started in 1990 and was complete by 1995. Verona's bypass was one of a series of bypasses of towns along Highway 18/151 undertaken in the 1980's and 1990's in order to provide four-lane limited highway access highway from Madison on the east to the Iowa border on the west. The final cost of the project was $30 million ($1995), 15% above the initial cost estimate of $26 million. The project was funded by state and federal sources.
Economic development and land-use, as well as transportation considerations played into the choice of a southern alignment for the bypass. The old route through Verona's downtown district created a barrier between the city's neighborhoods and resulted in travel delays that threatened to choke the future growth of the city. The alternative of widening the existing route through downtown was examined, but the Wisconsin DOT estimated that this would result in the loss of wages and salaries of $685,000 and would reduce property tax revenues by $500,000 (1990$).
Land-use motives also played into the choice of the southern alignment for the bypass. The southern alignment was meant to balance the city's growth, which was sprawling toward Madison by opening new sites along the bypass for commercial and industrial development.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
After the bypass was opened in 1995, average daily traffic on the old route through downtown Verona plummeted by 60%. Downtown traffic is currently 45% to 75% below 1995 levels. On the bypass, traffic has doubled since it was opened in 1995. It now carries over 20,000 vehicle trips a day. The estimated time savings of the bypass route over the old route is estimated at 5 to 6 minutes. This amounts to a total savings of 1,650 vehicle hours a day.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
The Verona Bypass is widely regarded to have had profound impacts on the growth and development of the city of Verona since 1995. Before the project, development had been sprawling in an east-west pattern along Highway 151 and Highway 69, and to the north, toward the Madison city limits. After the bypass was built, development began to fill in more evenly in the area south of the city centre. Improved access to new greenfield commercial and housing sites on the city's south side spurred new development in this area, which had been farmland before the bypass was built.
In 1998, Wisconsin DOT conducted a study of the impacts of the Verona bypass as part of a larger study to evaluate and compare the impacts of a series of bypasses that were built around rural small Wisconsin towns during the 1980's and early 1990's. This study found that, compared to other bypassed communities in the state, downtown Verona had the sharpest reduction in traffic (-60%). The study found, however, that the Verona bypass had little impact on retailing in the city, aside from the loss of a few traffic-serving businesses like gas stations and fast food restaurants. Three years after the bypass was completed, there were not yet any discernible economic or real estate development impacts. The study also found no evidence of any positive impacts on catalyzing new commercial development during the first three years after the bypass was completed.
Between 1997 and 2008, the city of Verona annexed 888 acres in the southern part of the city, mainly for commercial and industrial development. These developments have resulted in the addition of over 1.8 million square feet of retail, industrial, and office space with over 4,000 new jobs at locations within 0.5 mile of the four bypass exits. The improved access to these sites that the bypass provided is considered to have been a critical factor in attracting this development. The most significant of these projects is the $300 million 140-acre EPIC systems campus, which expanded from its former headquarters in Madison to the new Verona campus, completed in 2005. The bypass is considered to have been critical in EPIC's decision to select Verona for their headquarters.
Blaine's Farm and Fleet, a box retailer serving the rural northern Midwest, located a store at the east end of the bypass. Two privately developed industrial parks have been founded near the bypass exits. Two existing firms have expanded, adding hundreds of jobs. Further development of a 20-acre box retailing plaza is planned.
By removing congestion and heavy commercial vehicle traffic downtown, the bypass has supported the current trend toward redevelopment of older commercial and residential buildings and vacant lots to new retail and service uses. Assessed values downtown have risen by $27.5 million since 1996. In total, over 4,000 jobs have been created by firms taking sites for new and expanded operations in the bypass corridor. The four-lane access and high traffic counts on the bypass are considered to be fundamental to these investments.
A number of non-transportation factors have driven development in the Verona bypass corridor. Foremost is its location in the growing Madison Metropolitan area, which has grown on the strength of its highly educated workforce and start-up tech firms that it spawns.
Epic Systems, which relocated 3,300 jobs to the vicinity of the bypass from Madison, is a textbook example of how a small tech start-up, nurtured in the shadow of UW-Madison, has grown to become a leader in its field. High-speed access via the bypass was critical in Epic's choice of Verona, but of equal weight were the availability of both a 140 acre site and the attractive TIF package that the city gave them for site improvements. Since this firm moved from Dane county and considered only sites within the region in its relocation decisions, this investment cannot be considered as additional to the region.
Likewise, the Blaine's box retail outlet, which requires high visibility sites with high traffic counts, would likely have located elsewhere within its Dane County market area if the bypass exit site had not been available, so this cannot be regarded as additional. All of the rest of the investments have been partly induced by TIF, the bypass was just one of the decision factors.
Wisconsin DOT, Economic Impact of Bypass on Communities, Jan 1998
Elsen, Marc, Epic Decision, The Daily Page, May 17, 2002.
City of Verona, Verona 2012 Comprehensive Plan, March 30, 2009.
City of Verona, Plan for Downtown Verona, August 14, 2008.
Dane County, Regional Trends 2007.
Dane County Labor Market Report, Jan 2009http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Systems_Corporation
OrganizationCity of Verona City of Stoughton, WI Wisconsin DOT Capital Area Regional Planning Commission City of Verona (retired) Madison Area Transportation Planning Board Wisconsin Departments of Workforce