PULASKI, Wis. (WFRV) As the investigation into the cause of the accident in Pulaski Tuesday night continues, we take a look at what is being done to improve driver safety on highway 29.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is always trying to identify potential problem points - within the state highway system. The location of last night's fatal crash on WIS 29, involving a school bus and a car, has been on their radar for some time.
According to state transportation officials, this at grade intersection where highways 29, 156 and St. Augustine Road meet has been under review since 2012.
"That location does have an above average crash rate - which is one of the reasons we are planning to make some improvements there," said Kristin McHugh, communications manager for WisDOT's North Central Region.
The region, which oversees this section of highway - has compiled data which shows between 2008 and 2012, there have been nine crashes here of varying severity.
Taken in total - the incidents exceed the statewide crash rate for expressway at grade intersections.
McHugh says the red flag lead to a traffic study and lots of public input, which lead to these design plans, aimed at making the intersection safer.
"We've determined were going to build an overpass at that location," said McHugh. "That will remove that at grade access from the road to WIS 29 and make that safer for motorists looking to travel on St. Augustine Road.
The project cost - $4 to $6 million - construction scheduled to start in 2017.
"By constructing the overpass, not only do we remove that potential conflict for drivers on WIS 29 and those wanting to cross, but we also improve the connectivity of the local roadway system," said McHugh.
The state initially looked at building J-turns to improve safety. However, the public and local officials clearly voiced their preference for an overpass and WisDOT secured the needed funding.