In 2022, the Bike Fed was exploring new options to further our advocacy and legislative goals. We coined a new outlook called Connectors & Connections. The Connectors are priority projects in our state that allow people to access jobs, businesses and/or recreation via active transportation, as well as projects that improve safety in communities and add to an interconnected system of bicycle and pedestrian trails. While pursuing these we aim to create connections and build relationships between the Bike Fed, Wisconsin cyclists, and elected leaders.
Under the Connectors & Connections mind frame, we have identified key connectors – projects – that are important to cyclists from every corner of the state, and pinpointed invaluable connections – people – at the advocacy, government, and business levels to advance our collective goals for Wisconsin cycling.
In 2023, these projects received Federal and/or state funding and are slated for construction:
East Troy Multi Use Connector Trail
The construction of this trail will provide safe off-road access between the East Troy Village Square, Mill Pond Park, and the nearly 450 households and businesses located on Honey Creek Road. The trail will be accessed via roadway or adjacent properties and will connect to the existing trail along the east side of Mill Pond Park. The trail will be lit for safety and will create ADA compliant safe crossings and travel zones along STH 120/CTH G and alleviate conflict between traffic and pedestrians who already walk or bike along the highway system to travel to parks, the village square business district, schools, and community centers.
In early October 2023, WisDOT released the list of TAP grant awardees following the spring 2023 application cycle. The Bike Fed is thrilled to announce that the East Troy Connector Trail was awarded $1,189,468 for the completion of this project. Going forward, Bike Fed staff will continue working with project stakeholders and community members to ensure the new segment of the trail can be used safely and equitably.
Mound View Park Connector – Platteville
In Plattevillle, an existing limestone trail constructed in 2011 connects the Mound View State Trail with Mound View Park – and on to Prairie View Park, Platteville High School, and Legion Park. Residents are seeking to pave and light the trail to improve accessibility, safety, and support Platteville’s inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts. The connector will also add to the regional trail network by linking to the Rountree Branch Trail which connects to the Mound View State Trail providing access to more than 250 miles of trails.
In early October 2023, WisDOT released the list of TAP grant awardees following the spring 2023 application cycle. The Bike Fed is thrilled to announce that the Mound View Park Connector project was awarded $406,816 for the completion of phase 1 of this project. Going forward, Bike Fed staff will continue working with project stakeholders and community members to assist with future phases and expansions of this project.
Stewart Tunnel – Dane County
The Stewart Tunnel is an iconic biking landmark here in Wisconsin, providing shade and cooler temperatures to Badger State Trail users through its .25 mile curved tunnel. Unfortunately, the Stewart Tunnel closed in 2018 due to catastrophic rain events. In 2022, an engineering solution that would re-open the Tunnel for bikers and hikers – as well as protecting the existing bat hibernaculum – was approved.
Governor Evers included $6.6 million for Stewart Tunnel repairs in his Capital Budget recommendation. This recommendation was necessary to reopen the Stewart Tunnel – and the entirety of the Badger State Trail – to trail users. The Joint Finance Committee in the Wisconsin State Legislature heeded Governor Evers recommendation, and found a way to approve the needed $6.6 million dollars in the 2023-2025 Wisconsin state budget. The Bike Fed would like to thank Governor Evers, the Joint Finance Committee, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR), Stewart Tunnel stakeholders, and advocates from around the state for making this long-awaited repair possible.
Wisconsin Recreational River Bridge – Dane & Sauk Counties
The Wisconsin Recreational River Bridge will connect two of Wisconsin’s scenic trails – the Great Sauk State Trail and the Walking Iron Trail – via a 500-foot bridge over the Wisconsin River. With construction targeted for fall of 2024, the bridge will further connect Dane and Sauk Counties’ trail systems creating a true destination for walkers, bikers, hikers and snowmobilers.
Dane and Sauk Counties each contributed an initial $2 million to the project which enabled MSA Engineering to move forward with design and engineering. Construction of the bridge is estimated to cost around $10 million. U.S. Representative Mark Pocan secured a Federal earmark of $2 million toward the bridge construction and Governor Evers included an additional $2 million in the proposed State budget. A Transportation Alternatives (TAP) grant was submitted for the balance of the construction costs in March.
In early October 2023, WisDOT released the list of TAP grant awardees following the spring 2023 application cycle. The Bike Fed is thrilled to announce that the Wisconsin Recreational River Bridge project was awarded $5,587,672 towards the completion of this bridge project. Along with sizable financial commitments from both Sauk and Dane counties as well as the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC), getting all of the funding necessary for the completion of this project was a real community effort. The Bike Fed would like to thank both Sauk and Dane counties for partnering on this project, Dane County Director of AWSC Sam Landes, and especially project lead and Sauk County Supervisor Marty Krueger.
Wisconsin River Trail – Grant County
The Wisconsin River Trail is a project that will create a 20+ mile, non-motorized hiking/biking trail through the Driftless areas of rural Boscobel, Woodman, and Wauzeka, following both sides of the Wisconsin River. It will create an avenue for users along WIS 133 to access work, school, or recreational opportunities increasing tourism and bolstering the economy for the City of Boscobel and surrounding communities.
Phase 1 of the Wisconsin River Trail was constructed in 2016 by the City of Boscobel, DNR (Knowles-Nelson grant), WisDOT and the Wisconsin River Trail Organization (WRTO). It connects Boscobel’s community trails to the Von Haden Boat Landing along USH-61. Three more phases of the Trail remain: the second is a 7-mile trail from Boscobel to Woodman, following WIS 133 and local roadways. Phase 3 connects the Von Haden Recreational Area to Wauzeka on a five-foot-wide paved shoulder and is anticipated to be completed by WisDOT by 2025 as part of a scheduled roadway project. Finally, Phase 4 will cross the Wisconsin River from Wauzeka-Woodman with an ADA-accessible pedestrian/ATV/UTV/ snowmobile bridge.
In early October 2023, WisDOT released the list of TAP grant awardees following the spring 2023 application cycle. The Bike Fed is thrilled to announce that the Wisconsin River Trail project was awarded $2,069,460 towards the completion of Phase 2. Going forward, Bike Fed staff will continue working with project stakeholders and community members on next steps for future phases of the trail.
Have an idea for a Priority Project in your community? Please contact Bike Fed Government Affairs Manager Collin Mead at Collin@Wisconsinbikefed.org