Belknap Street (US 2) is a trucking route, connecting US 53 and Duluth, Minn., that cuts through a business district that includes historic buildings and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. A lack of underground drainage resulted in water being trapped beneath the existing pavement on the four-lane thoroughfare, causing road deterioration at roughly twice the expected rate. Home to more than 70 businesses, the stretch between Banks and Hill avenues experienced a crash rate about three times the statewide average in part because of vehicles attempting to turn left from through lanes. Inadequate pedestrian accommodations from signal timing to a lack of curb ramps made Belknap challenging for people attempting to cross the street. Belknap also had no accommodations for bicycles, and there were only sporadic locations for bus pull-outs.
To address these issues, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) completed a $23.4 million reconstruction project that replaced about a mile and a half of concrete pavement, upgraded aging sewer and water utilities, placed new storm sewers along the roadway, improved bus stops and a rail crossing that intersects the corridor, enhanced pedestrian safety by adding refuge islands and curb bump-outs, added bike lane infrastructure and space for buses, added left-turn lanes, and upgraded and better timed signals. In the end, those traveling Belknap Street are safer, whether traveling by vehicle, foot, bike, or transit.