27th Street On-Ramps Causing Confusion Among Motorists

Changes that were part of the Mitchell Interchange project have drivers making illegal U-turns or using a small neighborhood street to correct their mistake of missing the ramps.

If you've missed the on-ramps for I-894 or I-43 while heading in either direction on 27th Street, you're not alone.

Since the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reconstructed the ramps, motorists have been confused, and that confusion is leading to dangerous, illegal U-turns and congestion in a small neighborhood just off 27th Street.

Motorists can now head either east or west from either side of 27th Street, but many are missing the ramps (see video) and try to correct their mistake by heading north on 27th and executing an illegal U-turn in the median break at Bottsford Avenue. If the motorist doesn't do the U-turn, he or she likely turns west onto Bottsford and does a Y-turn in the street, or even pulls into one of the residential driveways.

At a Board of Public Works meeting Tuesday, DOT representatives handed out flyers that indicated the department has placed permanent signing to direct motorists to use the right lane to access the ramps. The DOT has also been in touch with Google Maps and additional GPS providers in regards to updating the area for commuters.

The flyer also indicated that the department is considering a short-term closure of the median opening at 27th and Bottsford, and that law enforcement have identified an estimated 40 percent drop in U-turning. The "drop" does not, however, indicate what baseline was used to determine that figure.

In addition, Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt told Patch that drop rate did not come from his department, the unit responsible for policing the intersection thusfar. He said his officers have at times counted one illegal U-turn every 30 seconds.

Carolyn Tyler September 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Thank you for posting this much needed informational video. While I have figured out the new on/off ramps from S. 27th Street, I have temporarily forgotten until I am up on it. Years of another on/off ramp as described in your video will do this to a person. I have gone a few blocks out of my way to turn around which happens to be on Bottsford Avenue. The only alternative is to go further down which creates the same problem, just a different street. I wouldn't even consider a U turn at such a busy intersection, legal or illegal. I am getting better in recalling the change to the on/off S. 27th Street freeway ramps. I will either enter from W. College Avenue or S. 60th Street. What else can I do?
robert heule September 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The issue is (should be) public safety.People will eventually get used to the change and will realize that the new configuratiuon is much safer. The old configuration was actually designed in the 1950's. Quick lane shifrting will be a thing of the past.
Lee September 28, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I did not find the old ramps to be confusing at all and the lanes changing was not all that bad either. (Ever drive in Illinois) East was east and west was west. And I agree with Carolyn, get on at 60th street.
Denise Lockwood September 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Great job Cotey! What a great service to your readers.
tipple September 29, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Some people just don't like change. This is safer than going across traffic to get on the ramps to the freeways. The same people who complain about these ramps are the same ones who complain about roundabouts.
David Cotey September 29, 2012 at 12:34 PM
For those looking for more info on the on-ramps, Fox 6 did this report yesterday: http://fox6now.com/2012/09/28/drivers-confused-with-27th-st-ramp-leading-to-i-894/
David White September 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM
The rationale I heard for these onramps was to save gas for the left-turners rather than have them wait for the red light. How much gas is saved when compared to using the grand turn? And at what cost in construction? These are ridiculous, dangerous and expensive structures that will probably not achieve stated goals. I live 10 blocks south and drive for a living in this neighborhood. This is my new life.
Lee September 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
You work for the DOT? This is not about CHANGE that I can see. And as far as roundabouts go, that too depends on their design. Some are good and some are not. Can only blame the engineers who designed them. Certainly not the drivers who have to drive them. Ease of use and flow of traffic comes to mind........
JustMe September 30, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Roundabouts suck!
Mitchell Molbeck October 05, 2012 at 03:43 AM
These on ramps have been in place for a while now and I do use them on a daily basis. Although this information is important for new users on the ramps, as it was indeed confusing when they were first constructed. The illegal U-turn you talked about is dangerous but i feel that drivers have to go through a lot more trouble not making that U-turn.


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