In the interest of promoting public safety and convenience and the general welfare, the legislature of the state of Wisconsin declares that the intent of this section is to provide for the development of a well balanced and integrated state trunk highway system further modernized and improved to adequate standards to provide needed increased traffic capacity, relieve the congestion on overtaxed existing highways, and otherwise more adequately serve the present and anticipated future needs of highway travel, and toward that end to prevent conflicting costly economic development on areas of lands to be available as right-of-way when needed for future highway construction.
Investigations, surveys and studies.
As a function in the improvement of state trunk highways and connecting highways the department is authorized to make investigations, surveys and studies of the present and anticipated needs for the improvement of desirable, probable additions to the state trunk highway system, and to otherwise carry out the expressed intent of this section.
Designating freeways and expressways.
Where the department finds that the volume and character of the traffic to be served thereby warrant the construction or the acquisition of right-of-way for the ultimate construction of a highway to accommodate 4 or more lanes for moving traffic and that such development is in the public interest, it may by order designate as freeways or expressways segments of state trunk highways having currently assignable traffic volumes in excess of 4,000 vehicles per day. The findings, determinations and orders of the department under this subsection shall be recorded. Except as otherwise provided by this section, all provisions of law relative to the acquisition or dedication by subdivision plat or otherwise, of land and interests in land for highway purposes, and relative to surveys, plans, establishing, laying out, widening, enlarging, extending, constructing, improving, maintaining and financing of state trunk highways shall apply to the segments designated freeways or expressways pursuant to this section. The “Hampton Avenue Corridor" in Milwaukee County shall not be designated as a freeway or expressway under this subsection.
Changes in existing highways and utilities.
It is recognized that in the construction of freeways or expressways to modern standard and design, to promote the public and social welfare and benefit public travel of the state, it will become necessary for the department to make or cause to be made changes in the location, lines and grades of existing public highways, railroads and public utility transmission lines and facilities.
Municipal utility relocation; freeway construction. 84.295(4m)(a)(a)
The state shall pay 90 percent of the eligible costs of the relocation or replacement of any municipal utility facilities required by the construction of any freeway undertaken by the department. The affected municipal utility shall pay the balance of such costs.
This subsection applies only to relocations or replacements that:
Involve municipal utility facilities located on publicly held lands prior to such relocation or replacement;
Are not eligible for state reimbursement under any other provision of law; and
In administering this subsection the department shall use the same procedures and accounting principles as are applicable to utility relocations and replacements for which full reimbursement is required by law.
In order to be eligible for reimbursement under this subsection, any entry upon or occupation of state freeway right-of-way after relocation or replacement by a metropolitan sewerage district acting under s. 200.11 (5) (b)
or 200.35 (7)
shall be done in a manner acceptable to the department.
“Eligible costs" mean the actual costs of relocating or replacing utility facilities less the:
Cost of any upgrading of the facilities being replaced or relocated made solely for the benefit and at the election of the utility and not attributable to the freeway construction.
“Municipal utility facilities" mean any utility facilities owned by any town, village, or city or any joint local water authority created under s. 66.0823
or any town sanitary district established under subch. IX of ch. 60
, or under the jurisdiction of any metropolitan sewerage district established under ch. 200
“Publicly held lands" include any right or interest in real estate held by the state or by any county, city, village, town or other body politic and corporate.
Designating highways as freeways or expressways.
Where a state trunk highway is established on a new location which is not on or along an existing public highway, and the state trunk highway is designated as a freeway or expressway no right of access to the highway shall accrue to or vest in any abutting property owner. Where a state trunk highway is on or along any highway which is open and used for travel and is designated as a freeway or expressway, reasonable provision for public highway traffic service or access to abutting property shall be provided by means of frontage roads as a part of the freeway or expressway development, or the right of access to or crossing of the public highway shall be acquired on behalf of the state as a part of the freeway or expressway improvement project. The occupation or use of any part of an existing public highway is authorized for the construction of a freeway or expressway. The action of the department relative to designation, layout, location or relocation of any part of a freeway or expressway shall be conclusive.
Construction of grade separations at intersections.
In the furtherance of the public interest and general welfare of the state and the traveling public in the development of freeways or expressways, the department is authorized and empowered to construct grade separations at intersections of any freeway or expressway with other public highways and railroads and to change and adjust the lines of public highways and if necessary combine, relocate or extend the same to adjust traffic service to grade separation structures. The entire cost of grade separations and relocations, alterations or extensions of local roads as so determined by the department shall be a part of the construction of and financed as a part of the cost of the freeway or expressway. The department may by agreement with a county or municipality or by order summarily vacate or relocate any town, county, city or village highway as part of the construction of a freeway or expressway but shall pay any damage legally payable under existing law to any property owner directly injured by the vacation or relocation of such street or highway. The department is empowered to enter into agreement with the units of government having jurisdiction over a local highway relocated, altered or extended as a part of the freeway or expressway improvement with respect to maintenance thereof, and in the absence of mutual agreement to the contrary, such relocated, altered or extended highway shall be maintained by the unit of government having jurisdiction thereof before it was so relocated, altered or extended, except any parts thereof which the department determines to be useful in operation of or for access to the freeway or expressway, including structures over the freeway or expressway, which parts shall be maintained by the state, subject to s. 84.07 (1r)
, as a part of the freeway or expressway. The action by the department relative to vacation, relocation, extension or combining of a public highway under jurisdiction of any county, town, city or village shall be conclusive.
Authority to relocate and close highways. 84.295(7)(a)
Without limiting the authority extended by other provisions of this section the department may, on behalf of the state, enter into an agreement with the governing body of any county or municipality having jurisdiction over any highway and, as provided in such agreement, relocate or extend any such highway or close the same at or near the point of intersection with any freeway or expressway, or make provision for carrying such highway over or under the freeway or expressway, and may do any and all things on such highway as may be necessary to lay out, acquire rights-of-way for, and build the same.
No highway of any kind shall be opened into or connected with a freeway or expressway by a municipality unless the department approves the same and fixes the terms and conditions on which such connections shall be made. The department may give or withhold its approval or fix such terms and conditions as it deems will best serve the public interest.
Powers granted liberally construed.
The provisions of this section are not restricted by other provisions of the statutes, and all powers granted in this section shall be liberally construed in favor of the state in the furtherance of the expeditious and orderly construction of any freeway or expressway project and in the furtherance of the orderly operation of a freeway or expressway designated pursuant to this section.
Establishing freeway status.
After the adoption of an order by the department laying out and designating any portion of a state trunk highway as a freeway or expressway, the highway described in the order shall have the status of a freeway or expressway for all purposes of this section. Such orders shall not affect private property rights of access to preexisting public highways, and any property rights to be taken shall be acquired in the manner provided by law. No previously existing public highway shall be developed as a freeway or expressway without acquiring by donation, purchase or condemnation the right of access thereto of the owners of abutting land.
Establishing locations and right-of-way widths for future freeways or expressways. 84.295(10)(a)
Where, as the result of its investigations and studies, the department finds that there will be a need in the future for the development and construction of segments of a state trunk highway as a freeway or expressway, and where the department determines that in order to prevent conflicting costly economic development on areas of lands to be available as rights-of-way when needed for such future development, there is need to establish, and to inform the public of, the approximate location and widths of rights-of-way needed, it may proceed to establish such location and the approximate widths of rights-of-way in the following manner. It shall hold a public hearing in the matter in a courthouse or other convenient public place in or near the region to be affected by the proposed change, which public hearing shall be advertised and held as are state trunk highway change hearings. The department shall consider and evaluate the testimony presented at the public hearing. It may make a survey and prepare a map showing the location of the freeway or expressway and the approximate widths of the rights-of-way needed for the freeway or expressway, including the right-of-way needed for traffic interchanges with other highways, grade separations, frontage roads and other incidental facilities and for the alteration or relocation of existing public highways to adjust traffic service to grade separation structures and interchange ramps. The map shall also show the existing highways and the property lines and record owners of lands needed. Upon approval of the map by the department, a notice of such action and the map showing the lands or interests therein needed in any county shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of such county. Notice of the action and of the recording shall be published as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, in such county, and within 60 days after recording, notice of the recording shall be served by registered mail on the owners of record on the date of recording. With like approval, notice and publications, and notice to the affected record owners, the department may from time to time supplement or change the map.
After such location is thus established, within the area of the rights-of-way as shown on the map or in such proximity thereto as to result in consequential damages when the right-of-way is acquired, no one shall erect or move in any additional structure, nor rebuild, alter or add to any existing structure, without first giving to the department by registered mail 60 days' notice of such contemplated construction, alteration or addition describing the same, provided that this prohibition and requirement shall not apply to any normal or emergency repairs or replacements which are necessary to maintain an existing structure or facility in approximately its previously existing functioning condition. When the right-of-way is acquired, no damages shall be allowed for any construction, alterations or additions in violation of this paragraph.
Without limiting any authority otherwise existing, any of the rights-of-way needed may be acquired at any time by the state or by the county or municipality in which such freeway or expressway is located. If one owner's contiguous land is acquired to an extent which is less than the total thereof shown on the map as needed, consequential damages to the portion not acquired shall be allowed if found to exist.
Regulation of outdoor advertising. 84.30(1)(1)
Legislative findings and purpose.
To promote the safety, convenience and enjoyment of public travel, to preserve the natural beauty of Wisconsin, to aid in the free flow of interstate commerce, to protect the public investment in highways, and to conform to the expressed intent of congress to control the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices adjacent to the national system of interstate and defense highways, it is hereby declared to be necessary in the public interest to control the erection and maintenance of billboards and other outdoor advertising devices adjacent to said system of interstate and federal-aid primary highways and the Great River Road.
In this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
“Adjacent area" means an area which is adjacent to and within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any interstate or primary highway or the Great River Road, which 660 feet distance shall be measured horizontally along a line normal or perpendicular to the center line of the highway.
“Business area" means any part of an adjacent area which is zoned for business, industrial or commercial activities under the authority of the laws of this state; or not zoned, but which constitutes an unzoned commercial or industrial area as defined in par. (k)
. In adjacent areas along the interstate system business areas shall be limited to commercial or industrial zones within the boundaries of incorporated municipalities, as those boundaries existed on September 1, 1959, and all other areas where the land-use as of September 1, 1959, was clearly established by state law as industrial or commercial.
“Center line of the highway" means a line equidistant from the edges of the median separating the main-traveled ways of a divided highway, or the center line of the main-traveled way of a nondivided highway.
“Commercial or industrial activities" for purposes of unzoned industrial and commercial areas mean those activities generally recognized as commercial or industrial by local zoning authorities in this state, except that none of the following activities shall be considered commercial or industrial:
Agricultural, forestry, ranching, grazing, farming and similar activities, including, but not limited to wayside fresh produce stands.
Activities normally or regularly in operation less than 3 months of the year.
Activities not visible from the main-traveled way.
Activities more than 660 feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way.
Areas which are predominantly used for residential purposes.
“Erect" means to construct, build, raise, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw, or in any other way bring into being or establish; but it does not include any of the foregoing activities when performed as an incident to the change of advertising message or customary maintenance of the sign structures.
“Great River Road" means any highway officially designated as part of the Great River Road system by the department and approved by the appropriate authority of the federal government and any highway designated as part of the Great River Road under s. 84.107
. Signs along the Great River Road shall be regulated as are signs along primary highways.
“Interstate highway" means any highway at any time officially designated as a part of the national system of interstate and defense highways by the department and approved by the appropriate authority of the federal government.
“Landmark sign" means a sign of historic or artistic significance, the preservation of which is consistent with the purposes of this section, as determined by the department, including signs on farm structures or natural surfaces.
“Main-traveled way" means the through traffic lanes exclusive of frontage roads, auxiliary lanes and ramps.
“Municipal welcome sign” means an official sign erected and maintained by a municipality that the municipality determines is necessary to inform motorists of the territorial boundaries of the municipality.
“Primary highway" means any highway, other than an interstate highway, at any time officially designated as a part of the federal-aid primary system by the department and approved by the appropriate authority of the federal government.
“Sign" means any outdoor advertising sign, display, device, notice, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or other thing, which is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform, any part of the advertising or informative contents of which is visible from any place on the main-traveled way of any portion of an interstate highway or primary highway.
“Unzoned commercial or industrial areas" mean those areas which are not zoned by state or local law, regulation or ordinance, and on which there is located one or more permanent structures devoted to a commercial or industrial activity or on which a commercial or industrial activity is actually conducted whether or not a permanent structure is located thereon, and the area along the highway extending outward 800 feet from and beyond the edge of such activity. Each side of the highway will be considered separately in applying this definition. All measurements shall be from the outer edges of the regularly used buildings, parking lots, storage or processing and landscaped areas of the commercial or industrial activities, not from the property lines of the activities, and shall be along or parallel to the edge or pavement of the highway.
“Urban area" means any area which is an urbanized area or urban place, as determined by the department under 23 USC 101
(a) and regulations adopted thereunder and approved by the appropriate federal authority. Maps of urban area boundaries shall be available for inspection at offices of the department and copies of such maps shall be provided at cost to anyone requesting the same.
“Zoned commercial or industrial areas" mean those areas which are zoned for business, industry, commerce or trade pursuant to a state or local zoning ordinance or regulation.
Conditional uses and special exceptions not considered.
No uses of real property that are authorized by special zoning permission, including uses by conditional use, special exception, zoning variance or conditional permit, may be considered when determining whether the area is a business area.
No sign visible from the main-traveled way of any interstate or federal-aid highway may be erected or maintained, except the following:
Directional and other official signs, including, but not limited to, municipal welcome signs and signs pertaining to natural wonders, scenic and historical attractions, which are required or authorized by law, and which comply with rules which shall be promulgated by the department relative to their lighting, size, number, spacing and such other requirements as are appropriate to implement this section, but such rules shall not be inconsistent with, nor more restrictive than, such national standards as may be promulgated from time to time by the secretary of transportation of the United States under 23 USC 131
Signs advertising the sale or lease of property upon which they are located if such signs comply with rules of the department.
Signs advertising activities conducted on the property on which they are located if such on-property signs comply with applicable federal law and the June 1961 agreement between the department and the federal highway administrator relative to control of advertising adjacent to interstate highways. No on-property sign may be erected in a location where it constitutes a traffic hazard. If the department issues permits for outdoor advertising signs, the department is not required to issue permits for on-property signs that conform to the requirements of this paragraph. On-property signs may be illuminated, subject to the following restrictions:
Signs that contain, include or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent or moving light or lights are prohibited, except electronic signs permitted by rule of the department.
Signs that are not effectively shielded as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the traveled ways of the interstate or federal-aid primary highway and that are of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or that otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle, are prohibited.
No sign may be so illuminated that it interferes with the effectiveness of or obscures an official traffic sign, device or signal.
Signs located in business areas on March 18, 1972.
Signs to be erected in business areas subsequent to March 18, 1972 which when erected will comply with sub. (4)
Signs located in urban areas outside the adjacent area.
Landmark signs lawfully in existence on October 22, 1965.
Signs outside the adjacent area which are not erected with the purpose of their message being read from the main-traveled way of an interstate or primary highway.
Signs on farm buildings which are utilized by owners of the building for agricultural purposes if the signs promote a Wisconsin agricultural product unless prohibited by federal law.
Signs erected by the Crime Stoppers, the nationwide organization affiliated with local police departments, on or before October 14, 1997, without regard to whether the department has issued a license for the sign. The department may not remove a sign authorized under this paragraph unless the sign does not conform to federal requirements. The requirements under s. 86.19
do not apply to signs described in this subdivision.
Notwithstanding subd. 1.
, whenever a sign authorized under this paragraph requires replacement due to damage or deterioration, the department shall require the sign to be licensed under sub. (10)
and to meet all of the requirements of this section and s. 86.19
The department shall effectively control or cause to be controlled, the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices that are erected subsequent to March 18, 1972 in all business areas. Whenever a bona fide county or local zoning authority has made a determination of customary use, as to size, lighting and spacing such determination may be accepted in lieu of controls by agreement in the zoned commercial and industrial areas within the geographical jurisdiction of such authority. In all other business areas, the criteria set forth below shall apply:
The maximum areas for any one sign shall be 1,200 square feet with a maximum height of 30 feet and maximum length of 60 feet, inclusive of any border and trim but excluding the base or apron, supports and other structural members.
The areas shall be measured by the smallest square, rectangle, triangle, circle or combination thereof which will encompass the entire sign.
The maximum size limitations shall apply to each side of a sign structure and signs may be placed back-to-back, side-by-side, or in V-type construction with not more than 2 displays to each facing, and such sign structure shall be considered as one sign.
Signs may be illuminated, subject to the following restrictions:
Signs which contain, include, or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent, or moving light or lights are prohibited, except those specified in par. (bm)
and those giving public service information such as time, date, temperature, weather, or similar information.
Signs which are not effectively shielded as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the traveled ways of the interstate or federal-aid primary highway and which are of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or which otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle are prohibited.
No sign shall be so illuminated that it interferes with the effectiveness of, or obscures an official traffic sign, device, or signal.
Signs may contain multiple or variable messages, including messages on louvers that are rotated and messages formed solely by use of lights or other electronic or digital displays, that may be changed by any electronic process, subject to all of the following restrictions:
Each change of message shall be accomplished in one second or less.
Each message shall remain in a fixed position for at least 6 seconds.
The use of traveling messages or segmented messages is prohibited.
The department, by rule, may prohibit or establish restrictions on the illumination of messages to a degree of brightness that is greater than necessary for adequate visibility.