City of Madison Prepares for Rising Lake Levels and Isthmus Road Closures

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 7:15pm

With the unprecedented amount of rain that fell this week in Dane County, lake levels are rising and will continue to do so. There is additional rain in the forecast for Friday. City staff are working on alternative traffic plans as the Isthmus travel options are limited.

Water is currently covering portions of East Johnson, Main Street near the Yahara River, and Mifflin near Livingston, and barricades are being erected. As water is released from Lake Mendota into the Yahara River and subsequently to Lake Monona, it has little place to go aside from up from storm sewers, and over the banks of the river and lake.

There are concerns that East Washington Avenue may be flooded early next week. If so, Williamson will become the alternate route for motorists traveling into and out of the downtown and Isthmus area, and parking restrictions will be necessary. As changes develop, updated information will be available at

City stormwater engineers are working closely with their counterparts at Dane County and the Department of Natural Resources to monitor the levels and be prepared. Motorists, residents, and businesses will all be affected. The recent rains are creating numerous hardships and understanding and cooperation of residents, motorists, and others is appreciated.

City officials will hold a press conference to discuss the lake levels, the planned traffic patterns, and precautionary measures such as available sandbags on Thursday.

Press Conference Information:
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2018
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Madison, Water Utility Conference Room
119 East Olin, Avenue


  • Katie Crawley, Mayor’s Office(608) 266-4611
  • Rob Phillips, City Engineer(608) 266-4751
  • Brian Smith,Traffic Engineering(608) 261-9625