U.S. Route 12 in Wisconsin

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U.S. Highway 12

Iron Brigade Memorial Highway
US 12 highlighted in red, existing business routes highlighted in blue
Route information
Maintained by WisDOT
Length339.40 mi[1] (546.21 km)
HistoryDesignated in 1917 as WIS 12
Major junctions
West end I-94 / US 12 in Hudson
Major intersections
East end US 12 in Genoa City
CountryUnited States
CountiesSt. Croix, Dunn, Chippewa, Eau Claire, Clark, Jackson, Monroe, Juneau, Sauk, Dane, Jefferson, Rock, Walworth
Highway system
WIS 11 WIS 13

U.S. Highway 12 (US 12 or Highway 12) in the U.S. state of Wisconsin runs east–west across the western to southeast portions of the state. It enters from Minnesota running concurrently with Interstate 94 (I-94) at Hudson, parallels the Interstate to Wisconsin Dells, and provides local access to cities such as Menomonie, Eau Claire, Black River Falls, Tomah, and Mauston. It then provides an alternative route for traffic between northwestern Wisconsin and Madison and is the anchor route for the Beltline Highway around Madison. Finally, it serves southeastern Wisconsin, connecting Madison with Fort Atkinson, Whitewater, Elkhorn, and Lake Geneva. The West Beltline Highway and the segment between Elkhorn and Genoa City are freeways, and the segment between Sauk City and Middleton is an expressway. The remainder of the road is a two-lane surface road or an urban multilane arterial. Between Hudson and west of Warrens, the road closely parallels the former main line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway, now operated by Union Pacific Railroad.

Route description

Hudson to Lake Delton

US 12 crosses the St. Croix River from Minnesota concurrent with I-94 into St. Croix County. Wisconsin Highway 35 (WIS 35) joins both routes upon their entry into Wisconsin and exits south three miles (4.8 km) east. US 12 leaves I-94 one mile (1.6 km) further east from the eastern WIS 35 exit, treks two miles (3.2 km) north, and parallels the Interstate. The highway crosses WIS 65 in Roberts and passes through Hammond over a 15-mile (24 km) segment to Baldwin, where it crosses US 63. US 12 passes through Woodville four miles (6.4 km) east of Baldwin and crosses WIS 128 in Wilson, two miles (3.2 km) west of the Dunn County line.[2] Roughly three miles (4.8 km) into Dunn County, US 12 passes through Knapp then turns southeastward, connecting with WIS 79 six miles (9.7 km) further; it then joins WIS 25 (North Broadway Street) to the south in Menomonie. US 12 turns east onto WIS 29 (Main Street East) in downtown Menomonie, and the two routes follow Stout Road east out of the city.[3] The highways meet an interchange with I-94, then split one half of a mile (0.80 km) east in Elk Mound at the junction with WIS 40. US 12 passes through Elk Mound and enters Eau Claire County.[4]

US 12 merges with WIS 312 east (North Crossing) for two miles (3.2 km) before turning south onto Clairemont Avenue, bypassing downtown Eau Claire to the south and west. WIS 37 joins with US 12 on the southwest side of the city. Access to WIS 93 is provided via US 53. The interchange between US 12 and US 53 in Altoona is Wisconsin's first single-point urban interchange.[5] US 12 continues east out of the Eau Claire–Chippewa Falls metropolitan area and passes through Fall Creek, where it turns southeastward to join WIS 27 south in Augusta. The two highways briefly join US 10 on the Jackson County line in Fairchild.[6] US 12 and WIS 27 turn southward and pass through Humbird in Clark County and into Jackson County.[7]

US 12 and WIS 27 cross WIS 95 in Merrillan and WIS 54 in Black River Falls. US 12 and WIS 27 also split in Black River Falls. US 12 follows I-94 to the southeast past Millston and into Monroe County.[8] The highway crosses I-94 (with no access) south of Kirby and junctions with WIS 21 on the north side of Tomah at an interchange with the Interstate. US 12 passes through Tomah and joins with WIS 16 on the south side at the junction with WIS 131 near Mill Bluff State Park. The highways continue paralleling I-90 and I-94 southeast and pass through Oakdale and into Juneau County.[8]

US 12 and WIS 16 pass through Camp Douglas and cross WIS 80 in New Lisbon. The highways then junction with WIS 58 and WIS 82 in Mauston as they continue southeast. The routes trek eastward and pass through Lyndon Station, where Rocky Arbor State Park is located. The highways turn southeast again and cross the Interstates into Sauk County and Wisconsin Dells.[9] WIS 16 turns east onto WIS 13 north as WIS 23 west turns south onto US 12. These highways follow the Wisconsin Dells Parkway south into the heart of the Wisconsin Dells tourism district,[10] passing such attractions as Noah's Ark Water Park,[11] the Wisconsin Ducks boat tours,[12] Kalahari Resort, Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Wilderness Territory, and Tommy Bartlett Show.[13] WIS 23 turns west onto Monroe Avenue as US 12 turns southeast and crosses the Interstates.[14]

Lake Delton to Cambridge

US 12/US 18 eastbound at southern terminus of WIS 134 in Cambridge

At the I-90/94 interchange, US 12 becomes a freeway that bypasses Baraboo that goes just south of the Grasser Road overpass. The highway becomes an expressway just north of Lehman Road and remains so until a few miles north of Sauk City. WIS 60 briefly joins US 12 in Sauk City and WIS 78 crosses the Wisconsin River concurrently with US 12 into Dane County.[14] US 12 becomes an expressway again at the county line and continues southeast, crossing WIS 19 at Springfield Corners. Just northwest of Middleton, the route becomes a freeway as it enters the Madison area along the West Beltline Highway.[15]

US 12 merges with US 14 at University Avenue. The freeway continues south and turns eastward at the interchange with County Trunk Highway M (CTH-M) and CTH-S (Mineral Point Road). US 18 and US 151 join the beltline off Verona Road in southwestern Madison. The four routes travel concurrently for two miles (3.2 km), passing through interchanges with Todd Drive and Fish Hatchery Road before US 14 leaves south toward Janesville and US 151 north into downtown Madison via Park Street. The four-way concurrency was crossed by a railroad track at the surface until 2007. The crossing was isolated using Jersey barriers until that time.[16] The freeway also had several ramps, which contained driveways that accessed businesses.[17] US 12 and US 18 continue east into Monona and cross the Upper Mud Lake channel. The highways meet US 51 at Stoughton Road, then interchange with I-39 and I-90 on the southeast side of Madison.[18] US 12 and US 18 continue as an expressway east of the Interstates, junctioning with WIS 73 in Deerfield and splitting, with US 12 turning southeast into Jefferson County in Cambridge.[15]

Cambridge to Genoa City

After leaving Cambridge, US 12 passes through Oakland and crosses WIS 26, WIS 89, and WIS 106 in Fort Atkinson. WIS 89 joins US 12 as the route turns southward to approach Whitewater, bypassing the city to the south into Walworth County. The route briefly enters Rock County before crossing into Walworth County.[19] WIS 89 turns off US 12 at its junction with WIS 59. WIS 59 East follows US 12 briefly before turning north into the city. US 12 passes through La Grange and turns south at the junction with WIS 20 to follow WIS 67 south. US 12 turns southeast off WIS 67 onto a freeway northeast of Elkhorn. The highway crosses over WIS 11 with no access (although access is provided via nearby I-43), then interchanges with I-43. Access for Lake Geneva is provided at WIS 120 and WIS 50 as US 12 passes the city to the east. The highway turns south into Genoa City, where the freeway ends and US 12 follows the crossroad into Illinois.


State Trunk Highway 12

LocationHudson to Genoa City

The entire route was originally signed as WIS 12 in 1917 prior to the creation of the U.S. Numbered Highway System in 1926. Aside from changes resulting from the construction of freeways and US 12 being aligned on them, some differences exist between the original route and today's alignment. WIS 12 followed CTH-E, a more southerly alignment, between Menomonie and Eau Claire. From Black River Falls, WIS 12 continued south to Shamrock and turned east to follow CTH-O to Millston. WIS 12 ran southerly from Tomah along WIS 131 to CTH-A and turned east onto the county road to pass through Hustler and Clifton to reach New Lisbon.[1][20]

The state originally planned to widen all of US 12 from Genoa City to Madison to freeway in anticipation of the Illinois Tollway building out a northwest toll road from Chicago to replace the original US 12 right of way. The plans were reeled back as WisDOT started widening between Elkhorn and Genoa City, as community and environmental opposition effectively shelved the planned toll expressway south of the border.

Despite that, WisDOT continued to re-route Cambridge and Whitewater to a direct and flatter roadbed. A two-lane bypass of Whitewater was added in 2005. Widening US 12 between Middleton and Sauk City was completed in 2005, but local opposition prevented most of the remaining route north of that point to Lake Delton from being constructed.[1]

In Wisconsin, the highway was designated as the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway in 1993 to honor the Civil War Union Army unit; it also has this designation in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.[21][22][23][24]

Major intersections

I-94 west / US 12 west – St. Paul
Continuation into Minnesota
St. Croix RiverMinnesota–Wisconsin state line
St. CroixHudson0.30.481
WIS 35 north – Hudson
Western end of WIS 35 overlap
1.93.12 CTH-F (Carmichael Road)
WIS 35 south – River Falls
Eastern end of WIS 35 overlap
I-94 east – Madison
Eastern end of I-94 overlap; western end of I-94 Alt.
WIS 65 south – Roberts
Western end of WIS 65 overlap
WIS 65 north – New Richmond
Eastern end of WIS 65 overlap
US 63 north – Turtle Lake
Northern end of US 63 overlap
US 63 south – Ellsworth
Southern end of US 63 overlap
Town of Springfield31.049.9 WIS 128 – Glenwood City, Spring Valley
DunnTown of Menomonie42.768.7
WIS 79 north – Boyceville
WIS 25 north – Barron
Northern end of WIS 25 overlap
WIS 25 south (Broadway Street) – Durand
Southern end of WIS 25 overlap
WIS 29 west (Main Street) – Spring Valley
Western end of WIS 29 overlap
Town of Elk Mound59.495.660 I-94 – St. Paul, MadisonI-94 exit 52

WIS 29 east / WIS 40 north / Alt. I-94 east – Colfax, Chippewa Falls
Eastern end of WIS 29 and I-94 Alt. overlap
ChippewaNo major intersections
Eau ClaireEau Claire68.0109.4
WIS 312 west (North Crossing)
Western end of WIS 312 overlap
WIS 312 east (North Crossing) / CTH-T
Eastern end of WIS 312 overlap
70.7113.8Truax BoulevardFormer Bus. US 12 east
WIS 37 south – Mondovi
Bus. US 53 (Hastings Way)
Altoona77.2124.2 US 53 – Superior, La Crosse, MadisonUS 53 exit 86
WIS 27 north – Cadott
Northern end of WIS 27 overlap
JacksonTown of Cleveland107.2172.5
US 10 west – Osseo
Western end of US 10 overlap
ClarkTown of Mentor109.7176.5
US 10 east – Neillsville
Eastern end of US 10 overlap

WIS 95 / Alt. I-94 west – Neillsville, Alma Center
Western end of I-94 Alt overlap
Black River Falls131.2211.1 I-94 – Madison, St. PaulI-94 exit 115
WIS 54 west – Melrose
Western end of WIS 54 overlap
WIS 54 east – Wisconsin Rapids
Eastern end of WIS 54 overlap
Town of Brockway133.0214.0
WIS 27 south – Sparta
Southern end of WIS 27 overlap
MonroeTomah159.8257.2 I-94 – Madison, St. PaulI-94 exit 143; no entrance from westbound I-94
160.0257.5 WIS 21 – Necedah, SpartaProvides access from westbound I-94

WIS 16 west / WIS 131 south / Alt. I-90 west – Wilton, Sparta
Western end of WIS 16 and I-90 Alt overlap
164.8265.2 I-90 – Madison, La CrosseI-90 exit 43
JuneauNew Lisbon181.9292.7
WIS 80 north – Necedah
Northern end of WIS 80 overlap
WIS 80 south – Elroy
Southern end of WIS 80 overlap
Mauston189.7305.3 WIS 58 / WIS 82 (Union Street)
Town of Lyndon207.3333.6 I-90 / I-94 – Tomah, La Crosse, MadisonI-90 exit 85
SaukWisconsin Dells209.5337.2

WIS 13 / WIS 16 east / WIS 23 east – Wisconsin Dells
Eastern end of WIS 16 overlap; northern end of WIS 23 overlap
Lake Delton212.2341.5 WIS 23 (Munroe Avenue) – ReedsburgSouthern end of WIS 23 overlap
214.0344.4211 I-90 / I-94 – Madison, Milwaukee, Tomah, La Crosse, Eau ClaireSigned as exits 211A (west) and 211B (east); I-90 exit 92
Town of Delton214.8345.7212
Bus. US 12 / CTH-BD (Fern Dell Road)
216.7348.7214N. Reedsburg RoadExit for Ho-Chunk Casino Wisconsin Dells
WIS 33 west – Reedsburg
Western end of WIS 33 overlap
West Baraboo220.8355.3218

WIS 33 east / WIS 136 / Alt. I-90 east / Alt. I-94 east – Baraboo, Rock Springs
Eastern end of WIS 33, I-90 Alt, and I-94 Alt overlap
Bus. US 12 / CTH-W (South Boulevard)
Town of Prairie du Sac

Bus. US 12 east / CTH-Z (Prairie Road) – Prairie du Sac
WIS 60 west – Spring Green
Western end of WIS 60 overlap
Sauk City237.1381.6

WIS 60 east / WIS 78 north / Bus. US 12 west – Prairie du Sac
Eastern end of WIS 60 overlap; northern end of WIS 78 overlap
DaneTown of Roxbury237.6382.4
WIS 78 south – Black Earth, Mount Horeb
Southern end of WIS 78 overlap
WIS 188 north – Lodi
Town of Springfield246.5396.7
WIS 19 west – Mazomanie
Western end of WIS 19 overlap
WIS 19 east – Waunakee
Eastern end of WIS 19 overlap
Middleton252.8406.8249Parmenter Street
253.8408.5250 CTH-M (Century Avenue) / Airport Road
US 14 west / CTH-MS / University Avenue – Spring Green, La Crosse, Cross Plains
Western end of US 14 overlap
254.8410.1251BParmenter StreetWestbound exit only
Madison255.3410.9252Greenway Boulevard
256.4412.6253Old Sauk Road
257.4414.2254 CTH-M / CTH-S (Mineral Point Road) – Verona, Mount Horeb
258.6416.2255Gammon Road
260.2418.8257Whitney Way

US 18 west / US 151 south (Verona Road) / Midvale Boulevard – Dodgeville, Fitchburg
Western end of US 18 and US 151 overlaps.
261.9421.5258ASeminole HighwayWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only; exit for UW Arboretum
263.0423.3259Todd Drive
263.8424.5260 CTH-D (Fish Hatchery Road) – BellevilleEastbound exits signed 260A (south) and 260B (north)

US 14 east / US 151 north (Park St) – Oregon
Eastern end of US 14 and US 151 overlaps
265.3427.0262 CTH-MM (Rimrock Road)
265.8427.8263John Nolen Drive
Monona266.6429.1264 CTH-BW (West Broadway)
268.1431.5265Monona Drive

US 51 (Stoughton Road) / Alt. I-39 north / Alt. I-90 west / Alt. I-94 west – McFarland
Western end of I-39 Alt, I-90 Alt, and I-94 Alt overlaps
I-39 / I-90 to I-94 – Janesville, Chicago, Wisconsin Dells, Milwaukee
Signed as exits 267A (east/south) and 267B (west/north); I-90 exit 142
271.5436.9269 CTH-ABNew interchange to be constructed in September 2022 with a completion date of late October 2023.
Town of Cottage Grove274.5441.8272 CTH-N – Cottage Grove, Stoughton
Town of Deerfield281.1452.4

WIS 73 / Alt. I-39 south / Alt. I-90 east – Deerfield, Edgerton
Interchange; eastern end of I-39 Alt and I-90 Alt overlaps
WIS 134 north

US 18 east / Alt. I-94 east – Jefferson
Eastern end of US 18 and I-94 Alt overlap
JeffersonFort Atkinson293.9473.0 WIS 26 – Watertown, Milton

Bus. WIS 26 south (Robert Street)
Southern end of WIS 26 Business overlap

Bus. WIS 26 north (3rd Street) / WIS 89 north (Main Street) – Lake Mills
Northern end of WIS 26 Business overlap, Northern end of WIS 89 overlap
295.7475.9 WIS 106 (Riverside Drive) – Palmyra, Edgerton
RockNo major intersections

Bus. US 12 east (Tri-County Road) – Whitewater

WIS 59 west / WIS 89 south – Milton, Delavan
Southern end of WIS 89 overlap; western end of WIS 59 overlap

Bus. US 12 west / WIS 59 east / CTH-P – Palmyra
Eastern end of WIS 59 overlap
Town of La Grange317.6511.1

WIS 20 east / WIS 67 north – East Troy, Eagle
Northern end of WIS 67 overlap
WIS 67 south – Elkhorn, Williams Bay
Southern end of WIS 67 overlap
321 I-43 (Bray Road) / CTH-NN – Beloit, Milwaukee, ElkhornUnnumbered exits via collector-distributor lane
Lake Geneva334.4538.2328
WIS 120 north – Burlington, Lake Geneva
Northern end of WIS 120 overlap
335.5539.9330 WIS 50 / WIS 120 – Lake Geneva, Paddock Lake, KenoshaSouthern end of WIS 120 overlap; eastbound exits signed 330A (west) and 330B (east)
Town of Bloomfield340.6548.1335Pell Lake Road
Genoa City344.7554.7
US 12 east – Chicago
Continuation into Illinois
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes


  1. ^ a b c Bessert, Chris. "Highways 10-19". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  2. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). St. Croix Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  3. ^ Google (January 10, 2008). "Menomonie, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  4. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Dunn Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 30, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  5. ^ Google (January 10, 2008). "Eau Claire, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  6. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Eau Claire Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  7. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Clark Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Monroe Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 13, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Juneau Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 13, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Google (January 9, 2008). "Lake Delton, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  11. ^ Noah's Ark Waterpark. "Noah's Ark Waterpark Wisconsin Dells". Noah's Ark Waterpark. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  12. ^ Wisconsin Duck Tours. "Original Wisconsin Ducks, Wisconsin Dells". Wisconsin Duck Tours. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  13. ^ Tommy Bartlett. "Tommy Bartlett Show". Tommy Bartlett. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Sauk Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Dane Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  16. ^ Neuhauser, Curt & Bie, Michael. "One Month and Counting: Beltline Project Begins April 30" (Press release). Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  17. ^ Jensen, David. "Unusual Sights in and around Madison". I Love Roads. Retrieved December 25, 2006.
  18. ^ Google (January 17, 2008). "Madison, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  19. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2014). Jefferson Co (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 13, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  20. ^ Bauer, Kurt W. (March 1969). "Map 5: Original State Trunk Highway System in Wisconsin 1918" (Map). A Jurisdictional Highway System Plan For Milwaukee County. Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Retrieved January 10, 2008 – via Midwest Roads.
  21. ^ Michigan Legislature (October 26, 2001). "Section 250.1048". Michigan Compiled Laws. Michigan Legislative Council. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  22. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (June 4, 2010). "Commemorative Highways and Bridges". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  23. ^ Indiana Department of Transportation (June 16, 2009). "State Farm Sponsorship of Hoosier Helpers". Indiana Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  24. ^ RoadDog (September 4, 2008). "US 12 In Illinois Gets New Name". American Road Forum. American Road Magazine. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  25. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation. "Exit Numbers on US 12". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 10, 2007.

External links

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