Last Updated: 09/15/2017

This project is a key segment of a paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path that is planned to extend the Capital City Trail from Buckeye Road to east of Interstate 39/90 on the southeast side of Madison, generally following the corridor of the Union Pacific rail line. This is part of the remaining 6-mile “missing link” between the Capital City Path and the Glacial Drumlin State Trail in the village of Cottage Grove. When complete it will become part of a continuous 140-mile path across the State. Completion of this gap is the goal of a 1996 Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Madison, City of Fitchburg, Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of natural Resources.

The Segment 1 project will extend the path, which currently ends just north of Buckeye Road, to Dondee Road at Tarragon Drive. It will include an improved bicycle and pedestrian crossing of Buckeye Road.  It will generally consist of a 10-foot wide asphalt paved path with 2-foot wide grass shoulders along the northeast side of the rail corridor. Low retaining walls and railings will be required in some locations. Construction of this segment is partially funded by Dane County’s PARC and Ride Bicycle Trail Grant Program.

Following are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Could the Segment 1 path be located on the south side of the tracks?
A: Not without obtaining easements within the rail corridor because there is not sufficient space between the rail right of way and an industrial building (Sani-Matic Inc.). Also, a main goal of the project is to serve the neighborhood north of the tracks. This would require additional legal crossings of the railroad, which can only be granted through petition to the Office of Commissioner of Railroads.

Q: Can the path be located to avoid removing trees?
A: Some trees will have to be removed at the edge of wooded areas leaving most of the woods intact. Every effort will be made to preserve mature trees.

Q: Will there be replacement planting where trees are removed.
A: Yes tree planting and other landscaping could be incorporated into the project, in sensitive areas on a case-by case basis.

Q: Will the project include fencing to protect privacy or security of adjacent properties.
A: City does not generally construct fence along its paths and would do so only in very limited and unusual circumstances. Property owners can construct privacy fences on their property. Our considerable experience with paths in similar locations is that they actually reduce illegal and undesirable behavior as legitimate path users and visibility are deterrents.

Q: Will there be lighting along the path?
A: In general the City plans to install low-intensity lighting for major transportation-oriented paths such as this, but is flexible in areas that are sensitive to lighting. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Could the Buckeye Road bike lanes be used instead of the path segments at the west end of the project?
A: Buckeye Road to Dondee Road could be an alternative to Segment 1, but would be less direct and serve fewer people.  Many potential users of the bike path, especially younger, older and less experienced riders, would not consider the bike lanes on Buckeye to be a safe alternative.

Q: Is a connecting path to Helgesen Road planned as part of this project?
A: This connection (which we currently refer to as Segment 6) would be mostly on property the City currently owns. It would definitely be considered as a future project if the City can get approval from the Office of Commissioner of Railroads (OCR) for a new rail crossing in the vicinity of Dondee Road, but we are not actively pursuing this at this time.

The total length of the Segment 1 project is approximately 1500 feet, including the crossing of Buckeye Road.

Construction of Phase 1is currently planned and budgeted for 2017. Real estate acquisition is currently in progress.

The total estimated construction cost for Segment 1 is $303,000.  This does not include substantial real estate acquisition costs, for which no estimate is available at this time.

View the map of the Capital City Trail, Buckeye to I-39. And the more detailed map of Segment 1.