Marquette Road Project
raise concerns over
Marquette Road Project
By Ted Pennekamp
Approximately 40 people, many of whom are business owners, attended an informational meeting about the impending Marquette Road Project at City Hall Tuesday at noon. Another such meeting was held at 6 p.m.
City Administrator Aaron Kramer, along with Department of Transportation officials, gave a brief presentation but mostly fielded questions from audience members who were concerned with proposed detour routes and the effect the project would have on their businesses.
Kramer said that the project will be done in four phases and that each phase will have a different detour route, mostly to reroute truck traffic. Phase One is scheduled to go from April of 2014 to Mid-June. Phase Two will be from Mid-May to late July, Phase Three from late July to the end of August, and Phase Four from September to late November 2014.
Originally, the Marquette Road Project was to have no traffic at all routed through Prairie du Chien. All traffic was to have been routed through Mount Sterling, Kramer said. The city worked with the DOT, however, so that traffic (and thereby consumers) could travel through the city.
Kramer noted that the detours are not perfect by any means but that the city will do what it can to help businesses affected by the construction zones.
One of the main detour routes for truck traffic, especially early on, will be the Highway 18 Bypass. Kramer said that Marquette Road will not be open to trucks, but to local traffic only with one lane going north and another for southbound traffic.
“This plan is not very friendly to businesses,” said Dave Bowar, the owner of Hardee’s. Other business owners along Marquette Road agreed. Kramer said that the lanes needed to be reduced on Marquette Road during the project because the city will be replacing storm sewer, sanitary sewer and utilities along the route.
Another issue brought up by business owners was signage to let people know that there is access to businesses. Kramer said that there will be large, professionally done signs directing trucks where to go and also letting other motorists know that they can drive along Marquette Road and access businesses.
Kramer also noted that individual businesses can request that they be allowed to put up their own signs to show their customers how to get to where they need to go.
“We don’t want the wild west of signs,” said Kramer, however, in noting that business owners will need to fill out a form to request signs. He also said that the city will likely turn down some sign requests.
Kramer said that it is still possible that detour routes can be tweaked and that public input is welcome regarding any possible better solutions.
Because of the detoured truck traffic, some city streets will take a heavy pounding during certain phases of the project. Kramer said that the city has anticipated that it will cost approximately $1.3 million to repave North Main Street and to totally reconstruct North Ohio Street following the project.
He also said that the city and the DOT will be keeping a very close eye on any possible spring flood situation that may affect a detour route.
Craig Fisher of the DOT, who has been the project leader for the Marquette Road Project since 2005, said that the total construction cost of the project will be about $6 million. The project will be bid out in February of 2014. Kramer said that the city’s cost is estimated between $1.6 million and $1.8 million, along with the $1.3 million for the reconstruction of North Main and North Ohio streets. Kramer said that the city’s costs include design costs, land acquisition, and water, sewer, and storm water construction.