Department of Transportation (DOT) Working with City on Options
The construction cones might be lining North Central Avenue, but highly anticipated repairs to the stretch of HWY 97 from Arnold Street to Harrison Street might not happen this year after all, due to higher than expected costs that exceed the State’s anticipated budget for the project. The DOT and City of Marshfield are currently re-evaluating the project and working towards a solution that would allow the construction to take place. Discussions are expected to take about a week.
According to a representative from the DOT, the BID received in Madison on May 8 was significantly higher than what had been anticipated. The DOT is working with the City of Marshfield to re-evaluate the project. At the conclusion of their discussions, the DOT will address City leadership and issue a press release. It is anticipated that the project will go out for bid in 2019.
Many residents have asked why the Central Avenue project has taken so long to occur, and the reason is funding. Public Works Director Dan Knoeck told FOCUS earlier this year that oftentimes when there is a major street project, the City will delay when practical to take advantage of State and Federal funding. By waiting, the City has the opportunity to save millions in repair costs.
“When it comes to major improvements, the DOT helps funds those,” explained Knoeck. “For example, the stretch on North Central from Arnold to Harrison is due for a mill and overlay. That’s planned for July 2018, so our responsibility has been to just maintain the street with patching and so forth, trying to hold it together until DOT gets there with their improvement project.”
At one time, the much-need repair project was scheduled for 2015, but was pushed back to 2018 for various reasons at the State level.
According to the DOT, the primary goals of the Highway 97 project are to extend the service life of HWY 97 and enhance safety.
Pavement on that portion of highway is deteriorating and requires repair, and collisions have also been identified as a safety problem along this section.
State data indicates that from 2009 to 2013, 99 crashes occurred within the project limits; with 45 of those crashes occurring at the Doege Street intersection. Rear-end collisions comprised a significant proportion of the crashes reported.
The DOT proposed an improvement project that would include resurfacing the roadway with new asphalt pavement, as well as improvements including:
- Spot storm sewer repairs
- Curb and gutter repairs
- Traffic signal upgrades at Arnold Street and Doege Street
- On-street bicycle accommodations
- Upgrading pedestrian ramps to meet ADA standards
- Proposed to modify lane widths and configurations to meet the safety improvement objectives ((although significant changes to the existing alignment or profile are not anticipated with the current solution).