USH 53/USH 63 Trego Interchange Design

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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Northwest Region retained Ayres to upgrade the at-grade intersection of USH 53 and USH 63 in Trego to a full-service interchange to improve traffic flow and safety. WisDOT presented a 2023 Excellence in Highway Design Consultant Rural Design Award to the project.

The project involved extensive traffic analysis of existing and proposed operations of the various alternatives. This work included an analysis to assess the future traffic safety benefits of alternatives as well as intersection capacity to assess the quality of traffic flows. This work prepared two intersection control evaluation reports for the project. Additionally, a J-turn alternative was thoroughly evaluated and the findings summarized in a technical memorandum.

The selected alternative included reconstruction of about 1 mile of USH 53 and reconfiguration of several local roads around the interchange, including realignment of CTH “E” and construction of new service roads parallel to USH 53. USH 63 was realigned southwest of Trego, and the new interchange is approximately one-half mile south of the previous USH 53/63 intersection.

Extensive public outreach and governmental coordination was required. Impacts associated with this complex project included residential and business relocation, access modifications, wetland impacts, railroad impacts, impacts to the Wild Rivers State Trail, as well as the potential for archaeological impacts, National Park Service impacts, Section 4f/6f property impacts, and excavation of contaminated soils.

WisDOT designed the interchange structure, the Wild Rivers trail overpass, and retaining walls, and Ayres incorporated the structure plans into the final plans, specifications, and estimates package.

A number of innovative/nonstandard solutions were implemented.

  • The project included the use of concrete silane sealer for saw cuts in the new concrete on USH 53 to help avoid premature joint deterioration in the cold-weather climate.

  • Turtle nesting habitat was included in the old road core of Lakeside Road. These areas were included in the plan, and coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will allow for future protective fencing to be placed around the nesting areas to help improve the population of the various turtle species in the Namekagon River.

  • For the construction of the new structures over Potato Creek, there were concerns with construction time frames to maintain the flow of the creek during construction. To reduce the time frame of construction, an 84-inch temporary culvert pipe was used to maintain creek flow while the existing box culvert was removed. The pipe was abandoned in place after the final channel was open. While this was a large throwaway construction cost, it was estimated that this option would eliminate the need to extend the project to a third construction season to complete. It also reduced the number of stages and temporary channel switches required on Potato Creek, which reduced the chance for construction discharge into its crystal-clear waters.

This project required a extensive public involvement effort, including the following: a design charette, design of the local alternative concept, meetings with the local ATV/snowmobile club, three public involvement meetings, plus LOMs and numerous local council meetings.

The project was constructed in seven stages over the course of two construction seasons. At the public hearing, staging exhibits were on display for the public to review and comment. These staging exhibits were updated based on the contractor’s schedule for the public prior to construction. They were updated again after year one and shared with the public in order to be in line with the contractor’s updated schedule.

Construction was substantially complete in 2022, with final minor restoration and punchlist work carrying over into 2023.


Project Information

Client's Name

Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Northwest Region


Trego, WI

Primary Service

Roadway Design


State + Federal + Tribal