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2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
September 23, 2013 - Introduced by Representatives Tittl, Thiesfeldt, August,
Nygren, Milroy, Petersen, Weatherston, Murphy, Stroebel, Czaja, Jagler,
Pridemore, Jacque, Nass, Sanfelippo, Craig, LeMahieu, Kerkman, Schraa,
Kapenga, Knudson and Ripp, cosponsored by Senators Grothman and Lazich.
Referred to Committee on Transportation.
AB389,1,3 1An Act to amend 346.57 (1) (ag), 346.57 (1) (am) and 346.57 (4) (gm); and to
2create
349.11 (2) (d) of the statutes; relating to: the maximum speed limit on
3freeways and expressways.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, the maximum speed limit on any freeway or expressway in
this state is 65 miles per hour. A "freeway" is defined as any state trunk highway
with four or more lanes of traffic separated by a barrier or median (a paved or
landscaped strip between opposing traffic) that gives preference to through traffic
by limiting access to only interchanges. An "expressway" is also defined as any state
trunk highway, but only a state trunk highway that the Department of
Transportation (DOT) determines has four or more lanes of traffic separated by a
barrier or median that gives preference to through traffic by use of interchanges or
by limiting at-grade access to selected public roads and driveways.
Also under current law, if DOT determines on the basis of an engineering and
traffic investigation that any statutory speed limit on the state trunk highway
system is greater or less than is reasonable or safe or that the actual speed of vehicles
is greater or less than is reasonable and prudent, DOT may determine and declare
a reasonable and safe speed limit on the applicable highway segment and post the
highway segment with signs imposing this modified speed limit. However, there are
limitations on DOT's authority to modify speed limits, and DOT may not declare a
speed limit greater than 55 miles per hour, except that the speed limit may be 65
miles per hour on a freeway or expressway.

This bill increases the maximum speed limit on freeways and expressways from
65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour. This speed limit of 70 miles per hour does not
take effect until DOT posts the limit by official traffic signs, but the bill requires DOT
to post the 70 miles per hour limit on specified freeways or expressways within
approximately one month after the bill's effective date and on all other freeways or
expressways within approximately six months after the bill's effective date. The bill
also limits DOT's authority to modify the statutory speed limit of 70 miles per hour
on freeways and expressways. Under the bill, if DOT makes a determination
following the process under current law, described above, that a reasonable and safe
speed limit on a freeway or expressway is less than 70 miles per hour, DOT may notify
the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) in writing of the proposed lower speed limit.
The proposed lower speed limit may be implemented by DOT, and DOT may post the
applicable freeway or expressway with the lower speed limit, only if JCF expressly
approves the proposed speed limit or implicitly approves the proposed speed limit by
failing to schedule a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the proposed speed limit
within 14 working days after the date of DOT's notification.
This bill also changes the definition of expressway to "a state trunk highway
that, as determined by [DOT], has 4 or more lanes of traffic physically separated by
a median or barrier and that gives preference to through traffic by allowing only
some at-grade access to roads and driveways", and the definition of freeway to "a
state trunk highway that, as determined by [DOT], has 4 or more lanes of traffic
physically separated by a median or barrier and that gives preference to through
traffic by limiting access to interchanges only."
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB389,1 1Section 1. 346.57 (1) (ag) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB389,2,62 346.57 (1) (ag) "Expressway" means a state trunk highway that, as determined
3by the department, has 4 or more lanes of traffic physically separated by a median
4or barrier and that gives preference to through traffic by utilizing interchanges or
5limiting
allowing only some at-grade access to selected public roads and public
6driveways. An "expressway" may include a highway that utilizes interchanges.
AB389,2 7Section 2. 346.57 (1) (am) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB389,3,4
1346.57 (1) (am) "Freeway" means a state trunk highway that, as determined
2by the department,
has 4 or more lanes of traffic physically separated by a median
3or barrier and that gives preference to through traffic by limiting access to
4interchanges only.
AB389,3 5Section 3. 346.57 (4) (gm) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB389,3,76 346.57 (4) (gm) Sixty-five Seventy miles per hour on any freeway or
7expressway.
AB389,4 8Section 4. 349.11 (2) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
AB389,3,249 349.11 (2) (d) Modify the speed limit stated in s. 346.57 (4) (gm), except as
10provided in this paragraph. If the department has satisfied the requirements under
11sub. (1) (a) and determined that a speed limit less than 70 miles per hour is a
12reasonable and safe speed limit on an expressway, as defined in s. 346.57 (1) (ag), or
13a freeway, as defined in s. 346.57 (1) (am), the department may notify the joint
14committee on finance in writing of the proposed lower speed limit. If the
15cochairpersons of the committee do not notify the department that the committee has
16scheduled a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the proposed speed limit within 14
17working days after the date of the department's notification, the department may
18consider the proposed speed limit to be approved. If, within 14 working days after
19the date of the department's notification, the cochairpersons of the committee notify
20the department that the committee has scheduled a meeting for the purpose of
21reviewing the proposed speed limit, the proposed speed limit is not approved unless
22it is expressly approved by the committee. The department may not post the
23proposed speed limit as provided in sub. (1) (a) unless it has been approved under this
24paragraph.
AB389,5 25Section 5. Nonstatutory provisions.
AB389,4,4
1(1) The department of transportation shall erect official signs giving notice of
2the limit under section 346.57 (4) (gm) of the statutes, as affected by this act, no later
3than the first day of the 2nd month beginning after publication, on all of the following
4freeways or expressways:
AB389,4,65 (a) USH 12, from the Illinois state line to Elkhorn north of I 43, a highway
6segment of approximately 15 miles.
AB389,4,87 (b) USH 14, from Madison south of the beltline to STH 138 in Oregon, a
8highway segment of approximately 10 miles.
AB389,4,109 (c) STH 16, from I 94 in Pewaukee to STH 67 in Oconomowoc, a highway
10segment of approximately 15 miles.
AB389,4,1211 (d) I 39, from the Illinois state line to I 94 in Madison, a highway segment of
12approximately 50 miles.
AB389,4,1413 (e) I 39/USH 51, from I 90/94 in Portage to Merrill, a highway segment of
14approximately 125 miles.
AB389,4,1615 (f) USH 41, from Milwaukee to Abrams, a highway segment of approximately
16135 miles.
AB389,4,1817 (g) I 43, from I 39 in Beloit to Milwaukee, a highway segment of approximately
1860 miles.
AB389,4,2019 (h) I 43, from Milwaukee to Green Bay, a highway segment of approximately
20110 miles.
AB389,4,2221 (i) USH 45, from USH 41 in Germantown to West Bend, a highway segment of
22approximately 15 miles.
AB389,4,2423 (j) USH 53, from I 90 in Onalaska to Holmen, a highway segment of
24approximately 10 miles.
AB389,5,2
1(k) USH 53, from I 94 in Eau Claire to Rice Lake, a highway segment of
2approximately 60 miles.
AB389,5,43 (l) I 90, from the Minnesota state line to I 94 in Tomah, a highway segment of
4approximately 45 miles.
AB389,5,65 (m) I 39/90/94, from Portage to Madison, a highway segment of approximately
630 miles.
AB389,5,87 (n) I 90/94, from Tomah to Portage, a highway segment of approximately 60
8miles.
AB389,5,109 (o) I 94, from the Minnesota state line to I 90 in Tomah, a highway segment of
10approximately 145 miles.
AB389,5,1211 (p) I 94, from I 39/90 in Madison to Milwaukee, a highway segment of
12approximately 60 miles.
AB389,5,1413 (q) I 94, from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line, a highway segment of
14approximately 30 miles.
AB389,5,1615 (r) STH 172, from I 43 in Green Bay to USH 41 in Green Bay, a highway
16segment of approximately 7 miles.
AB389,5,1817 (s) STH 441, from USH 41 in southwest Appleton to USH 41 in northeast
18Appleton, a highway segment of approximately 10 miles.
AB389,5,2019 (t) USH 151, from I 39/90/94 in Madison to STH 73 in Columbus, a highway
20segment of approximately 25 miles.
AB389,5,2221 (u) STH 29, from USH 51 in Wausau to CTH "O" in Wausau, a highway segment
22of approximately 5 miles.
AB389,5,2423 (v) STH 29, from I 39/USH 51 in Wausau to CTH "Q" in Ringle, a highway
24segment of approximately 12 miles.
AB389,6,2
1(w) STH 29, from CTH "T" in Chippewa Falls to STH "Q" in Cadott, a highway
2segment of approximately 25 miles.
AB389,6,43 (x) USH 10, from USH 41 in Appleton to STH 49/110 in Fremont, a highway
4segment of approximately 25 miles.
AB389,6,65 (y) USH 45, from USH 41 in Oshkosh to CTH "G" in Butte des Morts, a highway
6segment of approximately 10 miles.
AB389,6,87 (z) USH 45, from CTH "G" in Butte des Morts to USH 10 in Winchester, a
8highway segment of approximately 5 miles.
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