Marquette Road project will change 4 lanes to 3 from Mooney to LaPointe

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Community members attending the Marquette Road project’s public information meeting got a look at plans for Mooney Street through LaPointe Street. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Aaron Palmer, project leader from Westbrook Engineering, explained the detour route and temporary driveway access to business owners and managers at the meeting.

By Correne Martin

Marquette Road construction will take place early April through November this year, from Mooney Street to LaPointe Street, and involve reconstructing the existing four-lane undivided highway into a modified three-lane roadway with a two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL) and widened, 8-foot shoulders for bicyclists and right-turning vehicles, according to Ryan McKane, design project manager from Knight Engineers & Architects. He and several members of the project's design and construction team spoke and answered questions from business owners and community members during a public involvement meeting Thursday, Feb. 1.

The project, which was awarded to Gerke Excavating, of Tomah, will include construction of a sidewalk and a multi-use trail, replacing storm sewer, sanitary sewer and water. Minor amounts of the current right-of-way were purchased by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) in order to complete the project as designed. Construction will be separated into three stages, based on storm sewer construction:

•Stage 1 Wells Street to Mooney Street, estimated timeline early April through mid-June;

•Stage 2 Campion Boulevard to south of Parrish Street, Parrish intersection, north of Parrish Street to Wells Street, mid-June through August;

•Stage 3 La Pointe Street to Campion Boulevard, September through November.

McCane said the roadway will be open, at least in part, to local traffic during construction. Staging is being incorporated to limit the amount of time the entire project area is closed to local businesses and travelers. Through-traffic will be detoured utilizing Main Street/U.S. Highway 18 and Iowa and Wisconsin Streets--the same detour as was used throughout the 2014 roundabout project on Marquette Road. McKane said Parrish Street, which is a vital east-west connector, will remain open for the majority of the project; only three weeks of closure is allowed. Closure of side roads will be staggered to allow access to the road and affected properties.

According to project specifications, pedestrian access will be maintained on at least one side of Marquette Road, utilizing temporary sidewalk at times. Driveway access to homes and businesses will be open as often as feasible, though, when closure is required for construction purposes, owners will be notified as soon as possible. Property owners will also be informed when sewer or water service must be temporarily disturbed. Matt Muchow, representing the city adviser Vierbicher Associates, said water and sewer disruptions require 48-hour notice and such outages are typically for three to four hours, maximum. Some sewer and water replacement will occur on Crawford, Wells and Broadway streets as well, Muchow said.

During construction, the contractor will host meetings, twice a month, to provide project updates to businesses, chamber-supported block captains and residents. City administration will hold weekly meetings as well and work with the Chamber to communicate with the public.

Some residents may remember the city council debating with the DOT during planning for this project, in regard to the change from a four-lane undivided highway to the three-lane roadway with a TWLTL and widened shoulders. The DOT reminded those attending last week's meeting that the modified roadway is the optimum design to provide better free flow traffic and to allow left-turning traffic to sit and not have to worry about anyone rear-ending them.

The previous public information meeting for this project was led in January 2015. After that, the design was finalized, though the project was pushed back from summer 2017 to summer 2018. Plans were officially submitted in August 2017, as the go-ahead for 2018 was given.

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