Project Overview

This project involves the planning and design of John Nolen Drive from East Olin Avenue to the Broom Street intersection, including replacement of the six bridges along the John Nolen Causeway, partial replacement of the bridge wingwalls over Wingra Creek, partial shoreline replacement along the John Nolen Causeway and bicycle-pedestrian improvements along the adjacent Capital City Trail. This project will be planned/designed in coordination with the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge.

The project is broken into the following three segments:

  1. East Lakeside Street to North Shore Drive
  2. East Olin Avenue to East Lakeside Street
  3. Broom Street Intersection

Phase One of the project, which includes the segment from East Lakeside Street to North Shore Drive has been selected funding and is expected to be constructed in 2025 or 2026. Phase Two includes the segment from East Olin Avenue to East Lakeside Street is currently in design and will be fully designed with construction occurring when funding is available. The Broom Street Intersection is currently being analyzed for potential alternatives to ensure compatibility with improvements to the North Shore Drive intersection.

John Nolen

John Nolen (June 14, 1869 – February 18, 1937) was an American landscape architect, planning consultant, and writer, and the founding member of the American City Planning Institute. He completed a number of projects in Wisconsin – Nolen developed plans for the University of Wisconsin, the city of Madison, and the state park system. His comprehensive approach blended social, economic, and physical aspects of urban life with the preservation of natural beauty.

History of John Nolen Drive and Madison

  1. Humans First Inhabit Madison area Completed

  2. Ho-Chunk Nation Completed

    Primary Indigenous People in the Madison-area. Effigy mounds built for burial and ceremonial purposes dot the landscape.

  3. First European Settlers Completed

    Starting in the 1600s, European immigrants settle in Wisconsin, beginning the forcible displacement of Indigenous Peoples.

  4. Madison named as Capital Completed

    Madison first proposed as Wisconsin’s Capital by James Duane Doty.

  5. Railroads Completed

    Population – 5,126 – 9,170
    The Turville family purchase land in 1854 and at the same time the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad is put in place along John Nolen Drive, later adding another railroad track for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company.

  6. New Development Completed

    Population – 9,170 – 10,400

    This was the time period of new development on land bought from the Turville family. They had multiple resorts and an assembly area throughout the years.

  7. Private Farmland to Public Use Completed

    Population – 15,345 – 254,977
    There were talks of MATC being built on the Turville Farmland, which got turned down by the community and then the city bought all the land from the Turville family and created Olin Park and Turville Park and eventually started working on conservation and restoration projects.

  8. Improvement Completed

    John Nolen Drive opened as an original two-lane causeway.

  9. Expansion Completed

    John Nolen Drive widened to a four-lane causeway.

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