Wausau to reduce number of downtown one-way streets

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke said the city council has approved a plan to change the traffic flow in downtown Wausau. The plan would not be completed until 2021 at the earliest.

The Urban Design and Transportation project also includes a new roundabout at the intersection of Forest and 6th streets. There's a mixed reaction about the roundabout.

"I think roundabouts are a little bit, can be a little bit stressful for some people," said Justin Fisher, a bus driver for Wausau Ride. "Especially new to the area. I think it would be a waste of money as well."

Christopher Weems sees it a different way. "I think it would improve downtown. It's 2019 and we've got to grow with the times. Wausau's growing, I think we've got to make changes."

The plan recommends changing Forest Street to a two-way street to improve access. City plans state to do that, the two major intersections on either end of this corridor would require reworking. The western most intersection of River Drive, 1st Street, and Washington Street would be separated into two signalized intersections.

"Wausau's been known as a one-way street city for years," said Mayor Mielke, "and in mixing it up, it's just one of those things where the traffic engineers and those that plan these things will just make it more accessible for residents and visitors to go through the downtown area. And its beneficial for our business district, too."

River Drive would become its own intersection with the Library. There would be a standard four-way intersection with 1st Street and Washington Street. Currently, there is a five-point intersection. The eastern most intersection of Grand Avenue and Forest Street is recommended to turn into a roundabout that would allow two-way traffic onto Forest Street.

A draft of the plan was released in May.


A draft of the map titled, “Wausau Center preferred street network” show the mall’s parking ramps would also be split from the mall building.

Click here to view a draft of the plan on the city’s website.

Mielke said the city still needs to discuss financing and funding.