Work begins on development at U.S. Highway 14-Lacy Road Interchange

Interchange will be part of an "uptown" development

Madison has a downtown and now Fitchburg will have Uptown.

That’s the assessment of Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff, who announced that ribbon-cutting ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m. for the U.S. Highway 14 Lacy Road Interchange.

City officials said an initial investment of $19 million for the roads and interchange will serve as the foundation for Fitchburg’s next 20 years of growth. The interchange will be the gateway to Uptown, a 450-acre, bike friendly central business district that will include 150 apartment units that are now under construction, and possibly a future Meriter medical clinic.

Chris Armstrong, president of Avante Properties, said in addition to the 150 apartment units under construction, another 300 units are in the planning stage. Avante Properties also is talking to grocers, hotels, retail and restaurants, and single-family home developers.

Other features will be new bike paths and a cycletrack, which is considered a next-generation cycle facility. “The additional segregation from motor vehicle traffic provided by cycletracks has proven to attract a much wider range of people interested in bicycling than basic paint-only bike lanes,” said Dave Schlabowske, communications director for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.

In all, the development will have 84,000 square feet of sidewalk and cycletrack.

Fitchburg City Planner Tom Hovel noted the project is the first Smart Code designed, mixed-use neighborhood in Wisconsin. That means it must meet certain design specifications, yet still offer a degree of flexibility not normally associated with development projects of this size.

A breakdown of the city’s investment in the interchange is as follows:

  • $11 million for the new diamond interchange, connection to Highway MM and the Lacy Road roundabout

  • $8 million to construct the East Cheryl Parkway and Lacy Road extensions to connect to the U.S. Highway 14 interchange

Overall, the City of Fitchburg is committing nearly $200 million in tax increment created in the Fitchburg Technology Campus and the Promega’s Fitchburg Center. The new interchange, part of a public/private partnership, will improve access to the Fitchburg Center, which is anchored by Promega Corp., and the Fitchburg Technology Campus. Promega's $100 million GMP Molecular Diagnostics Facility is under construction, and the new interchange will aid Promega’s continued expansion.