U.S. Route 12 in Wisconsin

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This article is about the section of U.S. Route 12 in Wisconsin. For the entire route, see U.S. Route 12.

US Highway 12 marker

US Highway 12
Route information
Maintained by WisDOT
Length: 339.40 mi[1] (546.21 km)
Existed: 1926 – present
History: Designated in 1917 as WIS 12
Major junctions
West end: I-94 / US 12 in Hudson
East end: US 12 in Genoa City
Counties: St. 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 West Beltline Highway around Madison. Finally, it serves southeastern Wisconsin, connecting Madison with Whitewater, Elkhorn and Lake Geneva. The West Beltline Highway and the segment between Elkhorn and Lake Geneva 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 multi-lane arterial. Between Hudson and west of Warrens, the road closely parallels the former main line of the Omaha Road, now operated by Union Pacific Railroad.

Route description[edit]

Hudson to Lake Delton[edit]

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 (5 km) east. US 12 leaves I-94 one mile (1.6 km) further east from the eastern WIS 35 exit, treks two miles (3 km) north and parallels the interstate. The highway crosses WIS 65 in Roberts and passes through Hammond over a fifteen-mile (24 km) segment to Baldwin, where it crosses US 63. US 12 passes through Woodville four miles (6 km) east of Baldwin and crosses WIS 128 in Wilson, two miles (3 km) west of the Dunn County line.[2] Roughly three miles into Dunn County, US 12 passes through Knapp, Wisconsin, then turns southeastward, connecting with WIS 79 six miles (10 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 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 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 only single-point urban interchange.[5] US 12 continues east out of the Eau Claire 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 Waterpark,[11] the Wisconsin Ducks boat tours,[12] Kalahari Resort, Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Wilderness Territory, and Tommy Bartlett's Thrill Show.[13] WIS 23 turns west onto Monroe Ave as US 12 turns southeast and crosses the Interstates.[14]

Lake Delton to Cambridge[edit]

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. The section from I-90/94 to just south of Old Highway 33 is complete, and then U.S 12 joins its old alignment at a roundabout. WIS 33 joins the old US 12 alignment three miles (5 km) north of Baraboo; the routes split in West Baraboo at WIS 136. US 12 joins with WIS 159, a short highway that provides access to Devil's Lake State Park. Eventually, WisDOT will continue the Baraboo bypass freeway south of its current terminus at Old Highway 33, to just south of the Grasser Road overpass. Near the US 12/WI 159 intersection, the highway will become an expressway to just south of Ski Hi Road. The highway briefly becomes an expressway two miles south of WIS 159 for seven miles (11 km) as it approaches 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 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 km), passing through interchanges with Todd Drive and Fish Hatchery Road before US 14 leaves south towards 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[edit]

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, 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.


The entire route was originally signed as WIS 12 in 1917 prior to the creation of the U.S. 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 route between Cambridge and Whitewater was upgraded to a straighter and flatter path for safety. A bypass of Whitewater was added in 2005, although the bypass is currently only two lanes. Upgrades to US 12 between Middleton and Sauk City were 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]


Illinois state line to Madison[edit]

The state originally planned to upgrade all of US 12 from Madison to Genoa City to freeway in anticipation of Illinois facilitating a toll road south of the state line. However, after Wisconsin started upgrading between Elkhorn and Genoa City, it was realized that the project was shelved by Illinois, apparently due to community opposition (see FAP 420).

Nonetheless, several portions of US 12 between Genoa City and Madison are being studied for a possible upgrade to freeway status. A small, 3.5-mile-long (5.6 km) section from the I-39/I-90 interchange to the County N interchange east of Madison is being studied as part of the I-39/I-90 reconstruction project.[25] An extension of the US 12 freeway north of Elkhorn to Whitewater is currently being proposed as well.[26] When that happens, the Whitewater bypass will be expanded to a four-lane freeway. A connection between the Whitewater and Fort Atkinson bypass was in the planning stages, but that has been delayed until 2019 at the earliest.[27]

Madison to Wisconsin Dells[edit]

Several sections of US 12 between the Madison Beltline and Wisconsin Dells are being studied for upgrade to freeway.

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi km Exit[28] Destinations Notes
Washington Lakeland I‑94 west / US 12 west Continuation into Minnesota
St. Croix River 0.00 0.00 Minnesota–Wisconsin state line
St. Croix Hudson 1 WIS 35 north Western end of WIS 35 overlap
2 County F (Carmichael Road)
3 WIS 35 south Eastern end of WIS overlap
4 I-94 east Eastern end of I-94 overlap
Roberts WIS 65 south Western end of WIS 65 overlap
WIS 65 Eastern end of WIS 65 overlap
Baldwin US 63 north Northern end of US 63 overlap
US 63 north Southern end of US 63 overlap
Town of Springfield WIS 128
Dunn Town of Menomonie WIS 79 north
Menomonie WIS 25 north Northern end of WIS 25 overlap
WIS 25 north (Broadway Street) Southern end of WIS 25 overlap
WIS 29 (Main Street) Western end of WIS 29 overlap
Town of Elk Mound 60 I-94 I-94 exit 52
61 WIS 29 east / WIS 40 north Eastern end of WIS 29 overlap
Eau Claire Eau Claire WIS 312 west (North Crossing) Western end of WIS 312 overlap
WIS 312 east (North Crossing) / County T Eastern end of WIS 312 overlap
WIS 37 south

US 53 Bus. (Hastings Way)
Altoona US 53 US 53 exit 86
Augusta WIS 27 north Northern end of WIS 27 overlap
Jackson Town of Cleveland US 10 west Western end of US 10 overlap
Clark Town of Mentor US 10 east Eastern end of US 10 overlap
Jackson Merrillan WIS 95
Black River Falls I-94 I-94 exit 115
WIS 54 west Western end of WIS 54 overlap
WIS 54 east Eastern end of WIS 54 overlap
Town of Brockway WIS 27 south Southern end of WIS 27 overlap
Monroe Tomah I-94 I-94 exit 143; no entrance from westbound I-94
WIS 21 Provides access from westbound I-94
WIS 16 west / WIS 131 south Western end of WIS 16 overlap
I-90 I-90 exit 43
Juneau New Lisbon WIS 80 north Northern end of WIS 80 overlap
WIS 80 south Southern end of WIS 80 overlap
Mauston WIS 58 / WIS 82
Town of Lyndon I-90 / I-94 I-90 / I-94 exit 85
Sauk Wisconsin Dells WIS 13 / WIS 16 east / WIS 23 east Eastern end of WIS 16 overlap; northern end of WIS 23 overlap
Lake Delton WIS 23 Southern end of WIS 23 overlap
I-90 / I-94 I-90 / I-94 exit 92
Town of Delton 212
US 12 Bus. / County BD (Fern Dell Road)
214 N. Reedsburg Road
215 WIS 33 west – Reedsburg Northern end of WIS 33 overlap
West Baraboo WIS 33 east / WIS 136 Southern end of WIS 33 overlap
Town of Baraboo WIS 159 east
Town of Prairie du Sac WIS 60 west Western end of WIS 60 overlap
Sauk City WIS 60 east / WIS 78 north Eastern end of WIS 60 overlap; northern end of WIS 78 overlap
Dane Town of Roxbury WIS 78 south Southern end of WIS 78 overlap
WIS 188 north
Town of Springfield WIS 19 west Western end of WIS 19 overlap
WIS 19 east Eastern end of WIS 19 overlap
Middleton 249 Parmenter Street
250 County M (Century Avenue) / Airport Road
251A US 14 west / University Avenue (CTH-MS) – Spring Green, La Crosse Western end of US 14 overlap
251B Parmenter Street Westbound exit only
Madison 252 Greenway Boulevard
253 Old Sauk Road
254 County M / County S (Mineral Point Road)
255 Gammon Road
257 Whitney Way
258 US 18 west / US 151 south (Verona Road) / Midvale Boulevard – Dodgeville Western end of US 18 and US 151 overlaps.
258A Seminole Highway Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
259 Todd Drive
260 County D Eastbound exits signed 260A (south) and 260B (north)
261 US 14 east / US 151 north (Park St) – Oregon Eastern end of US 14 and US 151 overlaps
262 Rimrock Road
263 John Nolen Drive
Monona 264 South Towne Drive
265 Monona Drive
Madison 266 US 51 (Stoughton Rd)
267 I-39 / I-90 to I-94 – Janesville, Chicago, Wis Dells, Milwaukee Signed as exits 267A (east/south) and 267B (west/north); I-39 / I-90 exit 142
Town of Deerfield WIS 73 north Western end of WIS 73 overlap
Town of Christiana WIS 73 south Eastern end of WIS 73 overlap
Cambridge WIS 134 north
US 18 east Eastern end of US 18 overlap
Jefferson Fort Atkinson WIS 26

WIS 26 Bus. north (Madison Avenue)
Northern end of WIS 26 Business overlap
WIS 106 (Riverside Drive)

WIS 26 Bus. south (Robert Street)
Southern end of WIS 26 Business overlap
WIS 89 north Northern end of WIS 89 overlap
Walworth Whitewater WIS 59 west / WIS 89 south Southern end of WIS 89 overlap; western end of WIS 59 overlap
WIS 59 east Eastern end of WIS 59 overlap
Town of La Grange WIS 20 east / WIS 67 north Northern end of WIS 67 overlap
Elkhorn WIS 67 south Southern end of WIS 67 overlap
321 I-43 / County NN – Beloit, Milwaukee, Elkhorn Unnumbered exits via collector-distributor lane
Lake Geneva 328 WIS 120 north – Burlington, Lake Geneva Northern end of WIS 120 overlap
330 WIS 50 / WIS 120 – Lake Geneva, Paddock Lake, Kenosha Southern end of WIS 120 overlap; eastbound exits signed 330A (west) and 330B (east)
Town of Bloomfield 335 Pell Lake Rd
Genoa City US 12 east – Chicago Continuation into Illinois
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Route map: Bing

  1. ^ a b c Bessert, Chris. "Wisconsin Highways: Highways 10-19 (Highway 12)". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved June 11, 2007. [self-published source]
  2. ^ St. Croix Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  3. ^ Google (January 10, 2008). "Menomonie, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  4. ^ Dunn Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  5. ^ Google (January 10, 2008). "Eau Claire, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  6. ^ Eau Claire Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  7. ^ Clark Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Monroe Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  9. ^ juneau Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 16, 2008. 
  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 Wisconsin Dells". Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Original Wisconsin Ducks, Wisconsin Dells". Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Tommy Bartlett Show". Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b Sauk Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b Dane Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  16. ^ "One Month and Counting: Beltline Project Begins April 30" (Press release). 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". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved December 25, 2006. [self-published source]
  18. ^ Google (January 17, 2008). "Madison, WI, United States of America" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  19. ^ Jefferson Co (PDF) (Map). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Original State Trunk Highway System in Wisconsin". Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. 1918. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Michigan Legislature — Section 250.1048". Legislature.mi.gov. October 26, 2001. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Commemorative highways and bridges — Wisconsin Department of Transportation". Wisconsin Department of Transporrtation. June 4, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  23. ^ "INDOT: State Farm Sponsorship of Hoosier Helpers". Indiana Department of Transportatoin. June 16, 2009. 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. [self-published source]
  25. ^ Staff (July 31, 2012). "Public Information Meeting #1" (PDF). Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  26. ^ Hoffman, Kevin. "Boards Urge DOT to Hurry Hwy 12 Study". GazetteXtra. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  27. ^ Whisner, Ryan. "Walker Halts Highway 12 Bypass". Daily Union. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  28. ^ Staff. "Exit Numbers on US 12". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 10, 2007. 

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