Rustic Roads: What are they and why are there so many?

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Governor Walker announced Monday that Peck Station Road in Walworth County is the newest addition to the Rustic Road program. This new road joins another 120 Rustic Roads across Wisconsin. But what is a rustic road and how does a road qualify to have that brown Rustic Road sign we all know so well placed on the side of the road?

The Rustic Roads System was actually created by a piece of legislature that was passed in 1973. The Wisconsin State Legislature wanted to preserve what remained of Wisconsin's scenic and lightly traveled country roads for the enjoyment of Wisconsin citizens. 

In order to qualify, a roadway must have "outstanding natural features along its borders," according to the Rustic Roads guide created by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The natural features can include anything from native vegetation and wildlife, to open areas with a view. However, the road must be "lightly traveled" and be at least two miles long with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph. 

According to the legislation, a rustic road "should not be scheduled for major improvements that would change their rustic characteristics."

Although Milwaukee county contains no rustic roads, there are over 20 total in Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Waukesha, and Washington Counties. 

The newest rustic road added to Wisconsin is right in our backyard. Peck Station Road is a paved 2-mile long road that was named after a Western Union Railroad stop. 

If you see a road that you think deserves this distinct recognition you can either call your county highway commissioner or contact Rustic Roads Coordinator at the Wisconsin DOT. The Rustic Roads Board will then review the application for the road, and hold a public hearing on the proposed Rustic Road. 

So, whats your favorite Rustic Road?

Below is a more detailed guide provided by the Wisconsin DOT. 

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