In 2022, Bike Fed is focusing on advancing important trails and projects throughout the state that can make a difference for Wisconsin cyclists. This month’s project highlight: the Hwy 67 bike and pedestrian tunnel in Oconomowoc.

An exciting project we’re highlighting as part of our 2022 Connectors & Connections approach is the Hwy 67 Tunnel in Oconomowoc. In 2016, Hwy 67 was expanded where it intersects with I-94, and with that expansion came plans for a tunnel underneath the highway for the many hikers, bikers, and walkers using the Lake Country Trail. However, after bids to finish the tunnel came back higher than the project was funded for, the almost-finished Hwy 67 tunnel has remained unusable for over five years.

In the summer of 2021, we at Bike Fed connected with State Representative Barb Dittrich after seeing her interest in getting the project completed. For years, cyclists from the area – and specifically her constituents – had dealt with an incredibly unsafe intersection in order to get to school, visit local shops, and simply enjoy the trail. After a few meetings with Rep. Dittrich, we set to work collaborating with her, the City of Oconomowoc, and Waukesha County in order to find the funding needed to get this project completed.

While the project was eligible to apply for a few different funding sources, Waukesha County applied for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant in 2021. These are federally funded dollars that are used to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in urban areas – a homerun for a project like the Hwy 67 tunnel that promotes active transportation in a metropolitan area.

We are excited to say that the project’s application was approved for a CMAQ grant this spring, and will be receiving $2.281 million in funding to complete the project. Waukesha County is working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to get a timeline for the project’s completion, but are hopeful for it to be completed later this year.