Concerned Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant residents and business owners on Highway 11 attended a public information meeting last night regarding planned reconstruction of 3.5 miles of the roadway.
About 50 people attended the two-hour meeting, which include preliminary design plans for two Highway 11 projects: widening Highway 11 into a four-lane, divided highway from 92nd Street to Highway 31 and restructuring Highway 11 from Highway 31 to Kentucky Street.
Of the two projects, the most concern was generated by widening Highway 11 from 92nd Street to Highway 31 into a four-lane highway.
The highway is to be widened in 2018 into four-lanes including a median in the middle to increase capacity and improve safety, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Originally built in 1973, Highway 11 pavement is in poor condition and the asphalt overlay has exceeded its useful life, according to the DOT.
Two bridges will be replaced as part of the project. The Union Pacific Railroad Bridge over the highway will be replaced in 2017 to accommodate widening and to increase the clearance under the bridge. The structure over the Pike River will be replaced to accommodate the widening of the roadway.
Residents and business owners were concerned about how the widening would affect their property, losing footage to the road expansion, and about potential roundabouts on the road.
Concerns about roundabouts were for the most part allayed by Wisconsin DOT Project Manager Gary Metzer, who said that he was “90 percent sure” that the DOT would not be recommending roundabouts for four intersections on Highway 11: at Oakes Road, Continental Avenue, 90th Street and Willow Road.
However, the roundabout alternatives have to be included as an option the DOT considers as a part of the process, Metzer said. Roundabouts are safe than signaled intersections, Metzer said, but more land would have to be acquired to put them in.
Property lost due to road widening
Three homes are expected to be demolished due to the widening, on the northeast corner of the intersection of Cozy Acres and Highway 11.
The state does compensate the property owners for property acquired by the road project, using assessed fair market values, Metzer said.
Additionally, property owners were concerned about how the loss of land would impact their property, whether by losing parking spaces in the case of businesses or by losing perennial gardens or yard features for homeowners.
Between 90th and 86th streets, there is an option to widen the road uniformly or to widen the road and slightly bend it to the north to lessen the impact to existing businesses on the south side of the road, including Blain’s Farm and Fleet and the Fountain Banquet Hall. That decision is a local one to be determined by Sturtevant officials, Metzer said.
The loss of parking is not a small concern for the businesses. Representatives from both Blain's and the banquet hall attended the meeting and said they were concerned that losing parking space may impact their village zoning permission which requires a certain number of parking spaces for their businesses.
Restricted access through medians
Another concern raised was about access for properties through the proposed median.
Allowing less openings in the median is safer for people traveling on the road but it does restrict access and impacts the businesses and property owners, Metzer said. Decisions regarding median openings will be done based on traffic analysis, Metzer said.
Highway 11 east of Highway 31 to Kentucky
The work, scheduled for 2017, will include:
- Removal and replacement of existing deteriorated concrete pavement and curb and gutter;
- Installation of a 24-foot wide curb and gutter median;
- Installation of a 5-foot wide bike land in each direction; and
- Sidewalks for the entire length of the project.
Included in the project are crosswalks and ramps for the sidewalks along Highway 11 near the mall.
“We’re making it more accessible and pedestrian-friendly,” said Tom Boyke, project engineer with exp, the company that is working with the DOT on this section of the Highway 11 project.
Concerns about this project included handicapped accessibility for pedestrians and about less access to properties because of changes to the medians.
Written comments about either project project can be mailed to Gary Metzer, P.E. WisDOT project manager, at 141 NW Barstow, Waukesha, WI 53187-0798, or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. People who were unable to attend the meeting may contact Metzer at (262) 548-5685 for more information.