Rustic Roads (Wisconsin)
Standard Rustic Road marker
|Interstates:||Interstate X (I-X)|
|US Routes:||U.S. Highway X (US X)|
|State:||(State Trunk) Highway X (STH X or WIS X)|
|Rustic Road:||Rustic Road X (RX)|
The Rustic Road system is a system of Wisconsin scenic roads. They differ from the main trunkline highway system in that they are not meant to be major through routes, but lightly traveled local access, and are to meet minimum standards for natural features. Rustic roads have lower speed limits than those on other highway systems. Each route is marked by brown and yellow signs, with the route number on a small placard below the sign. The letter "R" prefix is followed by the number designation. Wisconsin is the only state to have a system of rustic roads.
The Wisconsin State Legislature established the program to help preserve lightly traveled scenic rural roads. There are a few requirements that a road must have in order to be designated as a rustic road, such as having outstanding natural features or areas that set the road apart from other roads, be a lightly traveled road, not be scheduled for a major improvement which would change its rustic characteristics, and preferably be at least two miles (3 km) with a loop, completed closure, or connection to a major highway at both ends of the route. The maximum speed limit established by law is 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), but can be set lower by a local government if desired. Rustic roads may be dirt, gravel, or paved. They can be one- or two-way and can have accommodations for bicycles and hiking adjacent to or incorporated into the road or surrounding area. The designation process is initiated by application for designation by a local government.
The effort to identify rustic roads began in order to help local government and citizens preserve Wisconsin's scenic routes. The Rustic Roads system was established by the 1973 Wisconsin State Legislature. The law created the Wisconsin Rustic Roads Board. A 10-member board develops the rules and standards for the roads, and enacts the final approval for each designation.
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