The Osceola Intersection (WIS 35/WIS 243/County M) Study - History
The geographic location of the community, village of Osceola, and proximity to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and Canadian National Railroad create several challenges
in improving this intersection.
The limited number of bridge crossings over the St. Croix River, combined with the residential and commercial growth of the surrounding area, and the expansion of the Twin Cities metro area have dramatically increased the volume of traffic through the downtown district.
WIS 35 through the downtown district, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a two-lane roadway without adequate width to accommodate the increase in traffic and to preserve the sense of place within the district.
In addition the village is situated within a series of bluffs overlooking the St. Croix River
that feature elevation changes up to 200 feet above the river level.
The areas along the bluffs were once used by Native Americans as trade routes. Additionally the Village Park areas adjoining the
WIS 35/WIS 243/County M intersection feature numerous remnants of the industries created in the mid-1800’s to take advantage of Osceola Creek and Cascade Falls as sources of power.
This project is a direct outgrowth of the August 2005 Osceola Truck
Bypass Study undertaken by WisDOT. That study identified a truck
bypass that would divert WIS 35 away from Osceola’s historic downtown onto a route east of the
village. The study concluded that a stand alone truck bypass would not divert enough traffic to be cost effective, but a full bypass would divert sufficient traffic
and help reduce congestion in the village of Osceola.
Although the need has been established and the planning report is being completed, a bypass cannot be implemented outside of the
major highway project process.
Currently WIS 243, County M and 240th Street acts as a de-facto bypass of Osceola, although it is not designated as one of the offset intersections of WIS 35 with WIS 243 and County M.
Current use of this as a bypass creates some misdirection and mobility concerns.
Realigning the intersection is part of both the short-term solution of adapting existing roadways to meet the needs of traffic and the long-term goal of optimizing the existing roadways to function well with the future transportation system.