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Road Closed – What Does It Mean?


July 19, 2018

We all know that Wisconsin has two seasons, Winter and Construction. With the orange barrels, barricades, and signs clearly marking our numerous work zones, do you know which roads you are allowed to drive on?

Our roadway construction crews follow very strict national uniformity guidelines while setting up work zones. They try to keep roadways open as much as possible. Follow the signs and the crews’ directions.

But, what happens when you come upon a “Road Closed” sign? What about, “Road Closed to Thru Traffic”? Do you know the difference? “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” means no traffic is allowed to pass that sign unless that person has a destination inside the work zone. This allows people who live or work in the work zone to access their home or their work. This applies even when there are not barricades across the entire roadway as certain people are allowed to access the area. But, don’t pass that sign if your destination is outside the work zone, even if you think your destination is “local”.

“Road Closed” means just that. The road is closed at that point and no traffic should pass that sign. Again, the rule applies even if barricades don’t extend across the entire roadway, as work crews may have to pass that point. But, all other traffic should avoid that area. If you need to get to a point on the other side of the work area you will need to find another route.

Both “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” and “Road Closed” signs apply when clearly posted and whether work is active or not.

The law cited for violations of these cases is: 346.04 Obedience to traffic officers, signs and signals; fleeing from officer. (2) No operator of a vehicle shall disobey the instructions of any official traffic sign or signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic officer.

The bond (total fine amount) for that violation is $175.30 when road work is NOT active. When workers are present the bond amount increases to $213.10. And a 2nd offense in a year increases the bond amount to $288.70 when workers are present.

For further information on Wisconsin Traffic Statutes can be found at


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