“This project is about safety for growing communities in northeastern Wisconsin,” Evers said at the groundbreaking ceremony outside the Hortonia Town Hall. “We worked hard together to get this project back on track in 2019, and I am pleased that we are now running ahead of schedule.”
The $136.4-million project extends from Lily of the Valley Drive in the town of Greenville to US 45 in the city of New London. It will create roundabouts on either side of the village of Hortonville where the bypass meets existing WIS 15. The first phase of construction will grade for the new bypass.
“The growing traffic was simply too high to run through Hortonville,” WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson said. “Today we are breaking ground on a project that will make travel in northeastern Wisconsin easier and safer — and will increase the quality of life in Hortonville and surrounding communities.”
Traffic forecasts along the corridor called for a four-lane divided highway, and heavy regional traffic conflicts with local traffic through Hortonville. Studies show 75 percent of eastbound traffic and 52 percent of westbound traffic have destinations beyond the village. Crash rates along WIS 15 east and west of the village are higher than the statewide average.
The Transportation Projects Commission enumerated WIS 15 expansion in 2011, with construction originally scheduled to start in 2017. Prioritization of other major highway project needs, combined with past funding availability, contributed to the change in schedule for WIS 15. Evers and WisDOT announced in 2019 that the project would move forward and set a September 2021 goal for groundbreaking.
WisDOT is responsible for planning, building, and maintaining Wisconsin's network of state highways and Interstate highway system.