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Description
This project is a bicycle / pedestrian bridge over Beltline Highway and its frontage road, located between Todd Drive and Fish Hatchery Road. It includes paved asphalt path approaching the bridge beginning south of the Beltline at Greenway View (the north end of the Cannonball Phase 1 project completed in 2011). The paved path will initially extend approximately 1000 feet north of Beltline. Discussions are under way to extend the path to Fish Hatchery Road shortly after the Phase 3 project has been completed. 

This bridge is the key piece of the overall 4+ mile Cannonball Path, a major new commuter route linking areas of Fitchburg and Arbor Hills neighborhood with downtown Madison. The overall Cannonball Path project is a joint effort between Madison and Fitchburg, with land acquisition partially funded by Wisconsin Department of natural Resources. Madison is the lead agency for the Phase 3 project, which will be constructed by WisDOT and partially funded under the SMIP program with Federal Enhancement funds. When completed, the path will connect neighborhoods with parks, schools, major conservancy areas as well as retail, commercial and employment centers. It also connects to the Capital City Trail, Southwest Path, Military Ridge Trail and Badger State Trail, making it a key component of the regional network of paths for recreation as well as transportation.

For more information: please see the Overall Exhibits (PDF).

Length
The total length of the project is 3100 feet of which approximately 750 feet will be structure over the Beltline and frontage roads.

The continuation to Fish Hatchery Road be done as a separate project, most likely in 2014. It will add approximately 2600 feet of path for an overall length of 1.1 miles.

Schedule
Environmental investigation and documentation was completed in early-2012. Final design will then proceed, with letting in late-2012. Construction will likely begin in early-2013 with completion by the fall of 2013.

Cost
The total estimated construction cost for this phase is $3.6 Million, including engineering and contingencies. Of this, approximately $2.03 Million will be Federal Enhancement funds and the remainder will be City of Madison funds. Land for the entire 4+ mile project was acquired from the Union Pacific Railroad in 2008 for $2.4 Million, which included $1.2 Million from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources under their Stewardship Program.

Status
Project has been let by WisDOT for construction to Edward Kraemer & Sons.  Construction is expected to begin in late-March, 2013 and be completed this year.

Final design was completed by by SEH Inc. the consultant for the City of Madison.
(3/04/13)

A Public Information Meeting was held  Wednesday, December 14, 2011  at Leopold Elementary School.  Staff from the City of Madison and their design consultant presented preliminary plans and received comments. It was attended by approximately 45 people, including design staff, District 14 Alder Tim Bruer and representatives of Fitchburg and WisDOT. Exhibits from the meeting are available here.  

Most of those attending expressed support for the project with the major concerns or questions involving:
  • Some opposed to new lighting, especially where existing lighting from other sources is sufficient
  • Several requested completion of sidewalk on south frontage road from Coho St to west of Kayser Ford and/or bike lanes on the north frontage road to Fish Hatchery Road
  • Several stressed importance of continuing the path to and across Fish Hatchery Road following the current project
  • Many urged completion of the remainder of the Cannonball path to the west 

We welcome and encourage additional comments.



Public Comments
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.
Posted: 05/08/2014
Any news on the continuation of the short stretch of the Cannonball Path past the bridge over the Beltline north to Fish Hatchery? Thanks.

City Staff Response:
We call that segment Cannonball Path Phase 5 and we are just finishing up final plans and easement acquisition. We plan to let the project for bids in about two weeks and begin construction mid-Summer. Most likely we will not be able to complete it until early-2015. It is a difficult project to construct, with limited access, retaining walls, a small bridge, water main, sanitary sewer and work in water.
Posted: 10/28/2013
Open! We had smooth sailing on it tonight, and appreciate the work
Posted: 10/25/2013
Yeah, maybe the black/white combo special is not the best design, but hey: It's Open! Right?

Looks like humanoids crossing it now, some sitting on some kind of two-wheeled contraptions. You can paint it plaid but at least it's done!

City Staff Response:
Plaid. Hmmm, not a bad idea...
Posted: 10/25/2013
For the $3.6 Million they estimate it cost, and all the intentional design and architecture that was involved, topping it off with ugly prison-like chain-link fencing sure looks like an awkward afterthought.

Would've been nice to include that kind of safety in the design of the nice, painted black grating.
Apparently the grating design was inadequate to keep pumpkins/boulders/large pets from being thrown from the bridge??

City Staff Response:
The screening with small openings is a WisDOT requirement when crossing their highway. We agree, however, that the detailing was poor and we are loking at possible ways to improve it.
Posted: 10/21/2013
I've been watching the bridge over the Beltline to see if it is completed and open. Sunday Oct 20 I noticed that it is still closed off - will it open this week?

City Staff Response:
There have been some last-minute construction issues. We hope to open the bridge before the end of October.
Posted: 10/17/2013
we anxious bikers are always looking for new trails to open to bike.is this trail still scheduled to be blacktoped this year? i keep looking down the trail both ways when i drive down seminole rd.thank you.please respond.

City Staff Response:
The section of Cannonball Path that crosses Seminole Highway and continues southwest to the Military Ridge Trail (south of CTH PD) is being constructed by City of Fitchburg. The new bridge over CTH PD is being constructed by WisDOT. Both are scheduled for completion by early-summer 2014. At that point we will open over 4 miles of new path, from south of PD to north of the Beltline, and we will be working on the continuation north to Fish Hatchery Road and beyond. Yea!
Posted: 10/10/2013
To the question last month about video of the bridge installation, someone (from NBC/15?) posted a pretty cool time lapse sequence of the process on YouTube: http://youtu.be/eDqOhj542mI


City Staff Response:
Enjoy!
Posted: 10/01/2013
It's Oct. 1. How is work on the Cannonball trail beltline overpass progressing? Do you think it will be open in the next few weeks. What will the bridge connect to on the north side for now and in the future?

City Staff Response:
Work is progressing almost on schedule. We are hoping to open the path around October 15. At present the path will connect on the north end to the north frontage road. We are currently designing the extension of the path to Fish Hatchery Road, and  funds are budgeted for construction in 2014. We are also looking at further extensions of the path sometime after 2014.
Posted: 09/09/2013
Is there an official opening date for the bridge?

City Staff Response:
Scheduled completion date is Sepbember 30. It might take a little longer depending on the final details.
Posted: 08/26/2013
Any chance live video the bridge placement will be streamed?

City Staff Response:
Sorry, I don't know of any plans to video the work or stream it.
Posted: 08/15/2013
Very excited about this route which will really help my commute! Is there a map of the current and proposed Cannonball? I can see the bridge under construction as I ride by and I'm trying to understand where it connects on both sides.
Thanks!

City Staff Response:
Thanks for the comment - we are excited also.  A map will be added to this project's description shortly. Or contact Tony Fernandez at afernandez@cityofmadison.com
Posted: 08/05/2013
Hellp: I'm following up on a response you gave to a question I posed a few weeks back. I've been nosing around, trying to understand which sections of rail remain and which ones will be replaced, related to the development of the Cannonball Path. I'm assuming all the rail south of Fish Hatchery Road will go, as the overpass for the Cannonball Path linking south and north of the Beltline has to have a connection to Fish Hatchery Road.

You said that the railroad will continue to serve a customer "south of Fish Hatchery and, as far as we know, this arrangement will continue indefinitely." The only possible customer I can see between Fish Hatch and the Beltline is the recycling center, and that rail spur is broken off. I'm wondering if you meant "north of Fish Hatchery" (north and east) and if that customer is Madison Newspapers it can be the only business that could utilize rail service along that corridor (or Kaplan Bros).

Thank you for your response.



City Staff Response:
The trackage southwest of the crossing at Fish Hatchery will remain. WSOR continues to serve Vita Plus Co on W Badger Road, west of Fish Hatchery Road. They have an active spur on the SE side of the tracks and operations to use the spur make use of the siding track on the NW side of the main track. . The spur into Madison recycling is also functional and must be maintained, though it has not been used in recent years. For most of the distance between the Beltline and Fish Hatchery Road the path is proposed to be located adjacent to - but outside - the rail corridor, on easement to be obtained from UW Arboretum or property currently owned by City of Madison.
Posted: 07/23/2013
Hello,
As the owner of one of the businesses next to the new Bicycle overpass on the beltline I can say that I am happy to see the city becoming connected in as many ways as possible. I would also like to point out the "visibility issues" that this overpass causes for several businesses as well as just visibility for motorists and pedestrians along the frontage roads too. While there is a sidewalk on the north frontage road for pedestrians, there is not one for them on the south side frontage road. The overpass will create more bicycle and foot traffic on both of these streets as people make their way to this overpass.

The visibility and signage restrictions for some of the businesses involved should also be discussed. The Culvers sign is now 100% invisible as approaching from the east side. The Don's home furniture sign will also be 100% invisible as approaching from the west. These businesses rely upon the "drive by" traffic and visibility that the Beltline affords them.

Sincerely

Blaine Neupert

City Staff Response:
Thanks you for your comment. We are working on a project to complete sidewalk along the south frontage road from Coho St. to Semionole Highway. There are some very challenging segments and it could take us a few years to complete this. We are also aware of the concerns about visibility of business signs. Engineering and Planning staff have been working with businesses on this. Unfortunately our range of options is pretty limited.
Posted: 07/15/2013
Hello:

Thanks for updating this page. I hope to run a short article for our neighborhood association newsletter (Bay Creek). about this great new amenity.

I'm curious about the path from the Beltline (new overpass) to Fish Hatchery Road. You say that could be built in 2014. I'm especially curious about those same railroad tracks between, say, Olin Ave. and Fish Hatchery Rd., as it has impacts on this neighborhood. If the rail is essentially abandoned from Fish Hatchery Rd. beyond going to the southwest, does that mean the segment from Olin to Fish Hatch will no longer be used for trains?

If you don't know the answer, let me know if WISDOT or the Railroad Commission is the place for the answer to that question.
'

Also, for the purposes of my newsletter, any updates on construction completion or delays for the bike overpass, etc., would be great.

Thank you for your good work.

City Staff Response:
The railroad tracks are not abandoned north of the Dean Clinic building. The railroad is serving a customer south of Fish Hatchery and, as far as we know, this arrangement will ocntinue indefinitely.   For the section of path from there to Fish Hatchery Road we are working with UW Arboretum to obtain an easement on their property. The City also owns a strip of property adjacent to the rail corridor for part of that distance. We are not expecting any change in the status of the railroad from Fish Hatchery to Olin.
Posted: 07/02/2013
It would be fantastic to connect Cannonball north into the Arboretum to Martin Street. Has the City explored that possibility with the UW? A paved connector would also provide wheelchair access, something that the arboretum has very little of today.


City Staff Response:
Thanks for the comment. Yes, we have been looking into the feasibility of such a connection and feel it would be useful. However, it has considerable potential impacts on the Arboretum property. We are focusing on making the connection to Fish Hatchery Road, and will look at other connections after that one is completed.
Posted: 06/27/2013
Lots of progress on the overpass. This is great! (Should this project be moved to "Under Construction"?)

What is the extent of the northbound path going to be? There was mention of 1,000 ft north of the bridge (bridge to nowhere?) and also about continuing it on to Fish Hatchery. Any updates on a timeline for that to happen?

City Staff Response:
The current project will end north of the Beltline with a connection to the north frontage road. We are currently designing an extension of the path to Fish Hatchery Road, planned for construction next year.
Posted: 05/31/2013
will the cannonbal bike trail from the beltline to intersection of 18/151 and cth pd be blacktopped in advance of the overpass completion so we are able to enjoy it early?thank you.

City Staff Response:
The paving from Greenway View to Beltline will be completed with the bridge over Beltline, around September of this year. The paving west of Arbor Hills, across Seminole Highway and to CTH PD is being done by City of Fitchburg. They plan to complete in mid-2014. The overpass of CTH PD will begin July of this year and be complted in early-2014. We are getting closer!
Posted: 05/29/2013
Is there any word on the sidewalks being put in on the frontage roads? It seems like such a waste to put in such a wonderful bridge and leave something as basic as sidewalks out.


City Staff Response:
We are actively working on a design for sidewalk along the south frontage road from Coho to Seminole Highway and have budgeted some of the funds. It turns out to be quite difficult is some aeras due to terrain, different governmental jurisdictions and limited street right of way. But we are pursuing it.
Posted: 05/15/2013
Glad to see the overpass is finally getting some attention. Crews have been out on the north side of the beltline working on the area of the overpass. After today's very busy commute home along the frontage road, I can't wait until this overpass is operational. Thanks for making this a reality.

City Staff Response:
Project is on schedule for completion in mid-September. We're excited as well.
Posted: 04/08/2013
The project is to begin early 2013 so why haven't I seen any evidence that it has indeed begun? So very anxious to have this commuting option completed ! ! !
Please give me a firm timeline for start and end dates of this project. Are there incentives in place to complete the project early?
Thanks, Don

City Staff Response:
The project is under contract to Edward Kraemer & Sons and is in progress.Most of the work to date has involved producing, reviewing and revising shop drawings for the bridge and other preparatory work. . Actual groundbreaking should be very soon and project is on schedule for completion this year.
Posted: 03/05/2013
According to:

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/business/docs/mastercontract.pdf

It still doesn't look like Phase 3 has been let yet. I see phase 2 & 4, but not phase 3. Is this project on hold? I'm fervently hoping to have a safe bike route to work by 2014!

City Staff Response:
Phase 3 is definitely NOT on hold! Contract has been let to Edward Kraemer & Sons. After years of planning, construction should begin very soon and we definitely expect it to be completed this year.
Posted: 10/23/2012
Is the overpass project still on schedule?

City Staff Response:
Yes it is!. The contract will be let by WisDOT, probably in January, and construction will begin early next year.
Posted: 04/12/2012
I agree with comments made that painted bike lanes on fish hatchery road will likely do little to make this a less scary ride into downtown from the fish hatchery/beltline interchange.

It would have been nice for the fish hatchery road reconstruction to include a separate bike path - either off street or segregated from traffic by a curb like Campus Drive bike lanes.

Hopefully the sidewalk on the east side will help if it is widened but today the choices are a narrow bike lane in the road that is jarring and too close to heavy vehicles or dodging students walking to Wright middle school if riding on the current sidewalk.

Posted: 04/05/2012
I'm concerned with the post that states fish hatchery RD is going to be redone, but all that is happening with respect to bike routes is that fish hatch will have "clearly marked" lanes.

If ever there was a road that needs dedicated off street lanes, it's fish hatchery. Traffic is very heavy and moves very fast (50+mph). Even with new pavement and markings, it'll still be a nerve wrecking experience riding your bike along side that.

All this time, money, and resources spent on a "safe corridor" to downtown from arbor hills will ultimately fall short if one leg of the trip is the jarring experience that I imagine fish hatch will be w/o off street lanes.


Posted: 03/21/2012
Cannonball Path Phase 3, Beltline Overpass
American Transmission Company (ATC) just plopped a high voltage transmission tower right where the old Union Pacific rail line crosses the beltline (between Fish Hatchery / Todd Drive) on its south side. This also happens to be exactly where the new Cannonball bike/pedestrian bridge is planned to span the beltline. I can’t help but think there was some miscommunication between the City of Madison and ATC on this matter. Did ATC arbitrarily site a transmission tower here, or was the City of Madison unaware there would be a conflict?
I am concerned this could delay the building of the bike/pedestrian bridge for an additional few years. I hope this gets sorted out soon before ATC starts stringing up transmission lines.


City Staff Response:

Thanks for the comment, but we are on top of t his. The City has been working very closely with ATC engineers on this for several years. The ATC tower was located clear of the footprint of the bridge footings and the new lines were designed to be well above the bridge itself.  We  have also checked horizontal clearance from the existing ATC transmission line that runs parallel in the old rail corridor. We should be good to go with the bike bridge late this year or early in 2013. 

Posted: 12/14/2011
I would agree with the previous post. Sidewalks and bike lanes need to be improved all around the beltline/todd drive/new bridge area. Both north and south of the beltline have no decent sidewalks or bike lanes. I work in one of the older office buildings near the new bridge and we would love a sidewalk in front of the ford dealer so we could walk to arbor gate and in front of the Saab/Buick/Honda dealers. A few pedestrian improvement at Fish Hatchery Road and Greenway Cross would be great too. I think this might be Fitchburg but the intersection of Greenway Cross and Coho St would be considerably safer with a 4-way stop sign and crosswalks.
Posted: 12/07/2011
Will this project include construction of new sidewalks along the south frontage road? Currently, there is no sidewalk on either side of the road between Coho St and the Arbor Gate development, which means it is not safe or convenient for pedestrian activity. This project will be much more useful to people who live or work on the south side of the beltline if proper pedestrian connections to the bridge are made.

City Staff Response:
This sidewalk is not something that can be included in the actual Cannonball Path  project as it was not included in the Federal funding application.  However, it certainly deserves to be looked closely as a possible separate project by the City of Madison, and we will do that.
Posted: 12/07/2011
Please insure the bridge over the Beltline can accomodate future Beltline expansions. I think this was an issue or concern with the Verna Rd project and the pedestrian bridges east and west of that interchange.

City Staff Response:
Yes, the bike / pedestrian bridge is specifically being designed to allow the greatest number of options for future Beltline expansion. This has been very carefully coordinated with WisDOT.
Posted: 11/15/2011
I am excited about the whole Cannonball Path project. I rode my mountain bike along most of the right of way on Saturday; it will be a good commuter route. I would like to express my opinion that the rail spur that is currently active to Vita Plus and other light industry near the west end of Badger Rd. should be protected and remain in service. Hopefully the railroad company will some day allow shared use of the right of way. As much as I am in favor of expanding bicycle infrastructure, I believe that the community should also keep rail infrastructure intact. Rail is needed to keep industry (and jobs) from leaving the community, especially in the future. Rail and cycling should be able to work side-by-side. (no response necessary)
Posted: 11/15/2011
During the past month or so, I've noticed recent grading work on the gravel portion connecting the SW-trail to paved portion of the Cannonball Path (running behind Dunn's Marsh).

What is the timeline to pave this section of the path?

City Staff Response:
The gravel is a temporary surface to allow walkers to use the path and enjoy the corridor in the interim until the path is paved.  Fitchburg made the recent improvements to the gravel surface and they are taking the lead in constructing the paved path.  The current plan is to construct it in 2013. For the most up-to-date information on schedule, contact Fitchburg's Project Engineer Ahna Bizjak at  Ahnaray.Bizjak@city.fitchburg.wi.us
Posted: 10/10/2011
Has there been any consideration of upgrading the route between the planned end of this route at Fish Hatchery Road to Fish Hatchery @ Wingra?

This is one of the worst quality and most harrowing bike routes in Madison. I commute every day from the East Side to Todd Dr @ the Frontage and go around this segment even though it's out of my way. The bike lane is very narrow and always filled with gravel, sand, rocks and other debris. There are huge flat causing holes and cracks and motorists speed by @ 50mph.

What about either:

a) an off street bike path on either side of Fish Hatchery in this stretch

or

b) extending the Cannonball Path along the rail cooridor to where it intersects the Wingra Bike Path near Beld St.?

City Staff Response:

This route will be improved a good bit in 2012, when Dane County (in co-operation with Madison) reconstructs Fish Hatchery Road from Emil Street to Wingra Creek.  It will have all new pavement with marked bike lanes, a definite improvement over the bike lanes today which are almost unusable. There is also an existing asphalt path on the east side of Fish for part of the distance (from south of Carver St to the Creek).  it will be replaced by a  wide sidewalk, which could be used by those who are not comfortable in the bike lanes. 

We would like to eventually extend the path itself along the rail corridor up to Wingra Creek as you suggest. This has been in our long-range plan for many years. Currently this is still active rail corridor owned by Union Pacific Railroad, and they have not been willing to work with us on accommodating bike paths in their corridors.
Tony Fernandez

Posted: 05/13/2011
Please put me on your contact list for all updates and meeting notices regarding this project.

If draft plans are available, please send a PDF version to me. Thanks!

City Staff Response:

We've added you to the mailing list for notices of upcoming meetings. No plans are available yet, but  the path will generally follow the alignment of the old rail line.