By Tracy Ouellette
It’s often been said that Wisconsin has two seasons – winter and road construction. For 2013, that truism will very much apply to the Waterford, Tichigan and Big Bend areas.
Discussion at the Nov. 5 Town of Waterford Plan Commission focused on a Highway 164 resurfacing and reconstruction project that begins in March.
Russ Decker, a representative from James Peterson & Sons Inc. in Medford, spoke as one of the possible contractors for the construction project. Decker said he was there to introduce himself and get an idea from the commission on what might be required from the town should Peterson & Sons be awarded the contract.
“I’m here to put a ‘face’ on the company,” Decker said.
During the ensuing discussion, Town Chairman Bob Langmesser voiced considerable concern for the possible damage to be done to town roads from trucks moving asphalt and fill throughout the area during the construction.
“The county and Norway have expressed concerns already,” Langmesser said.
The roads the commissioners are most concerned with are North Lake Drive, Town Line Road and Old Loomis Road. Any damage caused to Highway 83 and Interstate 43 will be repaired by the state as this will be the DOT designated detour route, but damage to town roads most likely will not be repaired by the DOT.
“If we’re having quad-axel trucks down these town roads, we’re going to have a problem,” noted Commissioner Ted Derse.
Decker said that should his company get the contract, they would take videotape of the roads being used before construction begins. When it ends, the company would restore the roads to their original state – a procedure they’ve done in the past on multiple projects.
The commission also discussed having the company selected issue a letter of credit to cover 125 percent of the town engineer’s estimated road damage.
“We’re not out to gouge you,” Langmesser said. “We’re out to protect ourselves.”
Langmesser then tasked Town Attorney Michael Dubis and Town Supervisor Dale Gauerke to meet with Decker and Peterson & Sons to hash out exactly what the town needs.
Decker said that bids were due to the DOT Nov. 13 and that contractors would be known by the following day.
The DOT’s plan for Highway 164 includes widening the roadway, installing new culverts and improving the intersections. The complete project will run from spring 2013 to winter 2013. The construction zone begins at Highway 36 in Waterford and continues north all the way to I-43.
During the roadwork, the highway will be closed to through traffic, with vehicles using I-43 and Highway 83 to get around the construction sites.
Local traffic – residents and customers – will be allowed to travel on Highway 164 throughout the project.
Complicating matters is the DOT’s planned resurfacing of I-43 in 2013 with expected lane closures and traffic delays. So, anyone detouring around the Highway 164 project could be caught in a second construction zone.
The first phase of the Tichigan Project will start on Highway 164 between Beach and North Lake drives.
According to the DOT, the construction area will be expanded (Phase Two) after school lets out in June to the County Line/Denoon road intersections.
Work is scheduled to be completed by the time school resumes session in September, which is important for Washington Elementary School, which is located on Highway 164.
During Phase Two of the Tichigan Project, Highway 164 will be completely closed so the marsh can be removed in order to build a solid foundation for the road.
The highway will then be closed from Beach Drive south to Highway 36 for the final phase of the Tichigan Project, with work expected to be done by the end of the year.
Big Bend Project
Work will also begin in Big Bend in April or May on the northern section of Highway 164 from Edgewood Avenue to I-43. Stage Two of this project will reconstruct the highway from County L to Edgewood Avenue.
Work in Stages One and Two cannot begin until school lets out in June and work on both stages is slated to end before the start of classes in September.
The final phase of the Big Bend Project runs south from County L to Henneberry Avenue.
The DOT says Edgewood Avenue will stay open throughout the construction but warns drivers to stay alert to shifts in traffic.
Between the Tichigan and Big Bend projects, the DOT will replace a culvert that is located about one mile south of Big Bend and one mile north of the Racine County line.