Operational Resilience of I-90/94 Corridor

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September 2008
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September 2009
December 2009
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Conference Poster
Minutes 12-2-09
Final Report

Primary Investigator

Teresa Adams, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2205 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Ph: 608-263-3175


The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) defines resilience as “the capability of an asset, system, or network to maintain its function during or to recover from a terrorist attack or other incident.”

For Wisconsin, the I-90/94 corridor supports high volumes of freight and passenger travel. The I90/94 Corridor plays a unique role as the critical backbone to freight and passenger mobility and accessibility. Research to better leverage our knowledge of the corridor is key to preparedness and response to unanticipated events. Recent events have shown us how truly fragile sections of the I90/94 Corridor can be.

On February 6, 2008, an ice storm hit Wisconsin and resulted in over 13 inches of snow and ice. This caused difficult traffic conditions leading to multiple tractor-trailers losing traction and blocking the road. The conditions proved difficult for the clean up personnel, and traffic backed up to over 1050 vehicles. As the weather deteriorated, both directions experienced stand still conditions for over 8 hours, causing National Guard members to bring in food and water for the stranded drivers. This 17 mile backup brought movement through this region to a stand still.

The event plainly demonstrates the importance of understanding the corridor. This study will provide a systematic view of this major corridor to prevent future capacity and economic loss.


The goal of this research project is to provide information that will help the state of Wisconsin ensure reliable function of the major corridor between Hudson and Beloit while maintaining the normal pass through capacity for the entire corridor. The information provided will be in the form of recommendations of areas in need of enhancement and strategies for navigating traffic on to alternate routes in times of need.

The overall throughput capacity of this corridor will be examined in the context of system uncertainty (work zone, incidents and severe weather). Critical sections that could become the bottlenecks of this corridor will be identified. Satisfactory alternative routes will be identified to both passenger and commercial vehicles (considering road weight limits, heights of overhead structures and regulations for the transport of hazardous material ). The impact of these alternative routes through urban, suburban and rural areas will also be evaluated. Responding strategies in terms of traffic control and incident management will be also studied.


  1. Inventory of the network along Interstate 90/94 from Beloit to Hudson and evaluate parallel networks. Data regarding the volume of traffic, passenger and freight, in each area will be analyzed.
  2. Use the inventory to identify problem areas. Project future volumes based on existing data sources. Find arterials surrounding problem areas that could be used for alternate routes. Included in this is finding will be how much traffic these arterials can accommodate.
  3. Identify alternative routes for each section. Rank these sections in terms of the enhancement needs in order for reliable corridor capacity.
  4. Prepare recommendations for response plans including traffic control and advanced deployment of traffic information along the corridor.
  5. Final report and documentation of recommendations.

Project Information

  • Duration: 15 months
  • Dates: September 1, 2008 – November 30, 2009
  • Budget: CFIRE: $25,000; Total: $58,000
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 01-09
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