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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

State Patrol will significantly increase enforcement during Labor Day weekend

MADISON - The Labor Day holiday period from Friday through Monday has been deadly on Wisconsin roads with an average of eight traffic fatalities during the last five years. Moreover, traffic fatalities so far this year are about 8 percent higher than the same period last year.

To prevent deaths and injuries over the Labor Day holiday period, the Wisconsin State Patrol will use all of its available resources for high-visibility traffic safety enforcement to get motorists to buckle up, obey speed limits, drive sober, and eliminate distractions.

"Every State Patrol region will be participating in special emphasis details during the upcoming holiday period to increase voluntary compliance with traffic laws, not to write more tickets," says Lt. Col. J.D. Lind. "We've identified times and locations with high crash rates, and we're concentrating our resources on those targeted areas. Our Air Support Unit pilots will be flying missions to watch for traffic violations especially speeding, tailgating, and aggressive driving. Our commercial motor vehicle inspectors will be focusing on violations of truck safety laws, including speed limits on highway corridors, and will intently monitor traffic traveling near large trucks. Many of our high-visibility patrols throughout the state will be announced in advance on WisDOT Twitter<https://twitter.com/WisconsinDOT?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor>. (@WisconsinDOT, #WisDOT) to motivate motorists to make responsible decisions."

To minimize travel disruptions during the Labor Day weekend, most major highway construction projects will be suspended from about noon on Friday, Sept. 2 until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6. However, drivers may still encounter lane restrictions and traffic delays in highway work zones, according to Beth Cannestra of the WisDOT Bureau of Project Development.

"To prevent crashes, drivers must slow down, pay attention and not tailgate when approaching and traveling through work zones. Rear-end collisions caused primarily by speeding, distracted driving and following other vehicles too closely are the most frequent type of crash in work zones," Cannestra says.

"When you see orange cones, put down your phone," she says. "To help prevent distracted driving, a new state law taking effect Oct. 1 makes it illegal to talk on a handheld mobile device while driving in a work zone."

Traffic is expected to be heavy throughout the holiday period especially from about noon until 8 p.m. on both Friday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 5. Significant highway construction projects that may affect holiday travel include:

* Zoo Interchange project in Milwaukee County - lane closures on I-94 eastbound at Sunny Slope Road and on I-41/I-894 northbound at National Ave. The system ramp from I-94 westbound to I-41/I-894 southbound along with the system ramp from I-94 eastbound to I-41/US45 northbound are closed. Various other exit and entrance ramps remain closed.

* Lakefront Gateway project in downtown Milwaukee - limited access to the lakefront at Lincoln Memorial Drive. Posted detours show alternate access to lakefront destinations and locations to re-enter the freeway system.

* I-39/90 in Dane and Rock counties - new exit ramp location from I-39/90 southbound to WIS 59 (Exit 163) near Edgerton and Newville. Ramps to/from I-39/90 northbound at US 51 interchange (Exit 156) are closed until late September 2016. Alternate routes are required.

* Madison Beltline and Verona Road (US 18/151) interchange in Dane County

* I-90 in La Crosse reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction.

* US 51 in Marathon County - reduced speed limit of 55 MPH between Decator Drive and County WW.

* Westbound WIS 29 in Marathon County - single lane closures and a reduced speed limit of 55 MPH at the Business 51 interchange.

* I-39 in Marquette County - reduced speed limit of 55 MPH at the WIS 23/82 interchange

* US 51 in Oneida County - passing lanes between Rocky Run Road and South Blue Lake Road are closed. US 51 remains open to one lane of traffic in each direction.

* WIS 29 in Shawano County - single lane closures and a reduced speed limit of 55 MPH between Seneca Road and Fink Road.

* I-41 in Brown County - there are narrowed travel lanes and shoulders in several locations and reduced speeds to 55 mph from Grant Street to Lineville Road.

* I-41 and Velp Ave. interchange in Brown County - all exit and entrance ramps are closed with a marked detour.

* Eastbound WIS 172 to northbound I-41 ramp will be closed for four weeks beginning on Monday, August 22.

* US 10 eastbound between Winnebago County CB and I-41 northbound is reduced to a single lane.

* In Marinette County - US 141 southbound is closed in the village of Wausaukee from WIS 180 to north village of Wausaukee limit. A detour using local streets is posted.

For up-to-the-minute information on work zones and incidents that may affect highway travel, motorists can access the state's 511 travel information system by dialing 511 on a phone or visiting 511wi.gov<http://511wi.gov> on the web. Statewide travel information also is now available via Twitter<https://twitter.com/511WI> at Wisconsin511@511WI. To eliminate distractions while behind the wheel, drivers should use mobile communication devices only when their vehicle is completely stopped and off the traveled portion of the roadway.

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