Route 29 (SR 29) is a four-lane State Road with grade-separated interchanges along a 182-mile corridor between Chippewa Falls and Green Bay.
Project Type:Limited Access Road Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:889 Length (mi):182.00
Economic Distress:1.07 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):57 Population Growth Rate (%):0.74
Employment Growth Rate (%):1.48 Market Size:115,280 Airport Travel Distance:33.5032 Topography:4
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:WI County:County
City:Chippewa Falls to Green Bay Urban/Class Level:Mixed Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:44.730577 / -88.454543
Initial Study Date:N/A Post Constr. Study Date:2000
Constr. Start Date:1991 Constr. End Date:2000
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):N/A
Actual Cost (YOE $):450,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):617,503,824
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||199467000.00||99905600.00||299372600.00|
|Output (in $M's)||735909000.00||368589000.00||1104498000.00|
Between 1988 and 2000, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) expanded State Route 29 (SR 29) from a two-lane to a four-lane State Road with grade-separated interchanges along a 182-mile corridor between Chippewa Falls and Green Bay. The main purpose of the improvements on SR 29 was to address safety issues along this corridor. SR 29 serves as an important transportation link to manufacturers, food processors, and transportation providers located in the communities traversed by this corridor. Between 1990 and 2001, a total of 151 new and expanded manufacturing plants located within five miles of the highway, creating over 6,200 jobs. There has been a significant growth in highway-oriented businesses along the corridor, such as hotels/motels, restaurants and gas stations. Communities along the corridor have or are in the process of upgrading their infrastructure to attract additional development to the vicinity of the SR 29 corridor.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
SR 29 is a major east-west route across north central Wisconsin, connecting Green Bay with the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The focus of this case study is a 182-mile segment between Green Bay and Chippewa Falls, encompassing the counties of Brown, Shawano, Marathon, Clark, and Chippewa. SR 29 is part of Wisconsin DOT's Corridors 2020 Backbone Routes, a 1,550-mile network of multi-lane corridors connecting major population and economic centers and providing links to national and international markets.
Within the study area, SR 29 connects to US 51 and I-39 in Marathon County, US 141 and I-43 (via US 141) in Brown County, and US 53 in Chippewa County. Other major connections outside the study area include I-94 on the western end of the corridor.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
SR 29 has served as an important transportation link to manufacturers, food processors, and transportation service providers located in the communities traversed by this highway. The highway connects over 20 communities of varying sizes, from communities with population of less than 1,000 to medium sized cities (e.g., Wausau, Chippewa Falls) and Green Bay, one of Wisconsin's largest cities.
The population of the 5-county region is currently estimated at 517,300. Population growth between 1990 and 2000 in this region was about 1.12 % per year, higher than the population growth in Wisconsin over the same period. Brown County grew the fastest over this period, followed by Shawano and Marathon counties. Population growth declined between 2000 and 2003 in the corridor counties (0.92 % per year), although the population growth rate notably increased in Chippewa County. Employment increased by almost 29 % between 1991 and 2000 in the 5-county region, compared to almost 20 % employment growth statewide.
Before conversion of Highway 29 from a two-lane roadway into a four-lane facility, SR 29 was known as ?Bloody 29? due to the high incidence of fatal crashes. Fatality rates on various segments significantly exceeded the state average fatality rate for similar highway facilities. According to a WisDOT economic impacts study (2004), many sections of the highway had poor sight distances, curves and hills, and dangerous at-grade intersections. The goal of converting the road into a four-lane facility was primarily to address safety concerns.
Construction of the highway capacity improvements was initiated in late 1988, and the 182-mile corridor improvements between Chippewa Falls and Green Bay were completed by 2000 at a cost of $450 million. Construction for the segment between Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire was completed in 2005. Future work includes upgrading several at-grade intersections and building additional interchanges along the corridor.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
The highway expansion improved safety and allowed faster travel along the corridor. The WisDOT economic impact study of SR 29 found that the improved highway allows commuters to travel longer distances to regional urban areas and job centers, while residing in smaller communities along the corridor. For example, according to the Shawano County planner, the Town of Angelica has experienced growth after the highway expansion because of the shorter commuting times to the Green Bay area. In Marathon County, people have been moving to more rural areas where land is cheaper (e.g., $2,000-$3,000 per acre close to Wausau; $500-$1,000 per acre further west from the urban center) partly because of the improved travel time to employment centers in the area. Similarly, travel times have been reduced to other urban areas, such as Chippewa Falls, Medford, Eau Claire, Marshfield, and Wausau.
The post-study by WisDOT also found that manufacturers, food processors, and transportation service providers have benefited from the reduced travel times and improved reliability resulting from the SR 29 project.
According to WisDOT staff, SR 29 has recently become an important facility for the movement of wind tower components that arrive at Wisconsin ports. SR 29 allows for the parts to be delivered to assembly plants in Minnesota and Iowa. However, traffic impacts from these oversized and overweight vehicles were no anticipated when the roadway was upgraded.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
The WisDOT economic impact study found that the SR 29 expansion spurred an interest in economic development in the communities along the corridor. Many communities have, or are in the process of, upgrading infrastructure (e.g., water, sewer, roads) to attract development in the vicinity of the SR 29 corridor. For example, the communities in Clark County are planning and exploring financing alternatives to expand infrastructure along or closer to SR 29.
Much of the initial development near the interchanges is highway-oriented, including gas stations, hotels/motels, and restaurants. New businesses in the cities along the corridor increased by approximately 55 % between 1995 and 2003, as reported in the post-study by WisDOT.
Furthermore, 151 new and expanded manufacturing plants have located within five miles of the highway, creating over 6,200 new jobs during the 1990 through 2001 period.
WisDOT staff indicated that the increase of tourism spending to Door County can be attributed to faster travel times on SR 29 from Minnesota and western parts of Wisconsin. Tourism spending in the 5-county area more than doubled over the 1993-2002 period, by about 8 % per year.
The WisDOT post-study also found that property values near SR 29 have increased substantially. Data from the Department of Revenue shows that the total assessed value in the 5-county area between 1999 and 2003 increased by over 25 %, almost equal to the statewide growth in assessed value over the same period.
Several new developments have occurred within the corridor. In Chippewa County, two industrial parks are located within easy access of SR 29, through the SR 178/SR 29 interchange in the city of Chippewa Falls. The Riverside Industrial Park consists of 209 acres, with 40 acres available for development. The new Lake Wissota Industrial Park, located 2 miles from SR 29, is a 209-acre facility now ready for occupancy. It has space available for office, commercial/retail, and manufacturing uses. In the nearby city of Stanley, a new hospital and an ethanol plant opened. A prison was also constructed in Stanley, adding 405 new jobs in the area, although the prison's intent was to consolidate other old facilities in other areas of the state.
The SR 29 expansion through the communities in Clark County has been embraced as an opportunity for economic development, leading to the expansion of infrastructure and new development on the southern portion of the highway. The City of Thorp developed a business park in the vicinity of the SR 29, and several businesses have opened near the interchange (including a 41-room hotel, retail, and restaurants). The value of farm land in Thorp within 3 miles of SR 29 has reportedly increased to $2,000 per acre. In Owen, the SR 29 expansion is seen as complementing the rail access existing in the area. There are plans for an Ag Tech Business Campus, a very ambitious undertaking that will include an Agricultural Innovations Center (52,000 sq.ft.) and a commercial park of agricultural businesses (71 acres). The village of Curtiss has become a hub for trucking. A new truck repair shop recently opened at the SR 29 interchange, gas stations and restaurants have located in the area, and there are plans for a new hotel. The Abby truck stop in Curtiss employs 82 people, and a restaurant in the area employs 21. The WisDOT post-study reported an increased value in land adjacent to the SR 29 interchange in Curtiss, doubling to $3,000 per acre. In Abbottsford, a food processing business recently expanded its operations, adding 145 new jobs and 200,000 square feet, although the expansion is not solely attributable to the SR 29 expansion.
Most development in Shawano County after the highway expansion consists of highway-oriented development, such as hotel/motel, gas stations, and restaurants. According to the WisDOT post study, the Bonduel Express, containing a convenience store, gas station, and restaurant, opened in 1999, and it was established in the area due to the good access provided by and accessibility from SR 29.
Similar to Shawano, there has been some highway-oriented development in various interchanges within Marathon County. A few truck stops have been developed in various locations along the corridor. Two new businesses in the town of Edgar have opened in the vicinity of SR 29. The interchange at SR 29/US 50/I-39 supports a high growth area with new hotels and restaurants. A large hospital complex opened about five years ago in the Village of Weston, although the highway expansion was not cited as a reason for the complex to relocate to the area. There are three hotels, restaurants, a gas station, and an auto service shop in the vicinity of the hospital.
In Brown County, the village of Hobart is taking advantage of SR 29 and future WisDOT plans to build additional interchanges to advance the development of the Centennial Centre, a 616-acre development that will include residential, retail and office space, and institutional/civil government uses. Groundbreaking is expected in the summer of 2009 for the development of the first 340 acres.
In the Village of Hobart,, the main impetus for the large mixed use development begin constructed was the loss of local tax base when approximately 1/3 of the village land was acquired by the Oneida Tribe of Indians. To compensate for the property tax loss, the village decided to invest in the Centennial Centre, concentrating commercial and residential development in the northern part of the village. SR 29 will facilitate accessibility into and out of the development, without adding traffic onto the local roads, and helping to preserving the quality of life.
Smart growth legislation passed in 1999 requires all communities to develop and adopt comprehensive plans, and land use must be consistent with these plans starting in 2010. Among nine of the required components of these plans are transportation, economic development and land use considerations, all of which may influence future growth. Many of the communities along the corridor have gone through this process over the last few years.
In addition, communities in Wisconsin are allowed to create Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for economic development (up to 12 % of the community's assessed value). TIF encourages development in blighted areas, and bond proceeds from TIF districts can be used for infrastructure improvement, land acquisition, and also for development incentives. Businesses utilize TIF as a negotiating tool in discussions about relocation or redevelopment with municipal planning departments. TIF districts have been created in the vicinity of SR 29, which have influenced some of the development. For example, Weston created a TIF around the SR 29 interchange and changed zoning, which contributed to some of the development located in that village.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Economic and Land Use Impacts of State Trunk Highway 29, Final Report, July 2004.
Federal Highway Administration, Economic and Land Use Impacts of State Trunk Highway 29, Phase I ? Chippewa Falls to Abbotsford, Wisconsin, December 2002 (rev. July 2003). Available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/econdev/wis29.htm
David Merriman, Mark Skidmore, Russ Kashian, Do Wisconsin Tax Increment Finance Districts Stimulate Growth in Real Estate Values?, October 2007.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue, http://www.dor.state.wi.usWisconsin Department of Workforce Development, http://www.dwd.state.wi.us Wisconsin Realtors Association,http://www.dwd.state.wi.us
OrganizationWisconsin Department of Transportation Formerly of Federal Highway Administration Clark County Economic Development Corporation and Tourism Bureau Shawano County Brown County Village of Hobart West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission Marathon County/Wausau MPO