John Nolen re-construction coming

John Nolen Drive

Photo provided by the City of Madison

John Nolan Drive is one of the primary entry routes to downtown Madison.

Eimy Gonzalez, Assistant Editor

The city of Madison has a significant project underway. John Nolen Drive is scheduled for reconstruction and renovation, making significant changes in safety and infrastructure as well as developing further value in its design.  

The lengthy process that this project will  involve has begun, and the City of Madison is committed to making the most of it.  

“John Nolen Drive is the gateway to our community,” said Hannah Mohelnitzky, the engineering division’s public information officer. “Some people think that it is an opportunity for us to really showcase the beautiful history of Madison, really accentuate our lakes and what we love the most about this area.”  

The reconstruction of John Nolen Drive will not only enhance the drive towards downtown in terms of beauty from the west side, but it is also planned to integrate forward thinking in safety as well as make a much-needed reconstruction to the causeway between North Shore Drive and Olin Avenue, the track that sits across Lake Mendota. 

 The harsh winters and spring thaws of Wisconsin are especially tough on the causeway. 

“The causeway is wearing down and in need of a replacement, so, for us in engineering we are looking at the necessity part of this. Where we need to make sure that this is safe and that the infrastructure supports the use,” said Mohelnitzky.  

Furthermore, mentioned Mohelnitzky, city agencies are taking this already big project as an opportunity to work together towards tying all construction necessities together and make it a more efficient endeavor, rather than make smaller projects year after year.  

“Why do we want to disrupt people if we can do it all at once?” said Mohelnitzky. “Also, when we are thinking about the budget and the taxpayer’s dollars, it’s more expensive to be continuously digging every year versus trying to make the most out of one project.” 

Other improvements that have been considered for this project include the replacement of several bridges, three on the north bound and three south, the pavement in the streets as well as the multi-use path that is utilized by bicycles and pedestrians, and the reconstruction of the storm sewer.  

The reconstruction project is scheduled to begin in 2026; however, the planning has begun, placing the project at the stage of “preliminary design.” This mainly involves engagement with the community. According to Mohelnitzky, the city wants to not only share what needs to be done, but also understand what people are using it for, how often and what the community would like out of this project.  

Meetings are hosted where the priority is to get feedback from the community and have a “two-way conversation,” as explained by Mohelnitzky. Providing the information for this project is important, however, the city looks forward to making changes where most of the population can be satisfied as it has a significant impact on the community.  

For more information in regards of the project, and updates on the upcoming meetings, please visit Any feedback is appreciated and can vary from a design perspective to any safety concerns in mind.