Over 150 At Information Meeting On Cty. BB Plan
Over 150 people were in attendance at a public information meeting about the proposed roadway improvements to the CTH BB in the City of Marinette and the Town of Peshtigo held on Wednesday, April 3 at the Little River Country Club. The stated purpose of the meeting was to explain the ditching and repaving part of the project and to allow the public to ask questions.
Mark Schuster of the engineering firm of Robert E. Lee and Associates, explained the scope of the project and highlighted the three main purposes. They are to resurface the roadway, improve drainage and create a safer roadway corridor.
The project itself will start approximately at Pond Road and proceed north to the CTH T intersection at University Drive. The project is approximately 5.7 miles and will involve pavement reconstruction, replacing driveway aprons, excavating and modifying ditches where needed, installing culverts, and clearing the right-of-way obstructions. According to state guidelines for county highways, existing asphalt and concrete driveway aprons will be replaced with new asphalt to the right-of-way line. Gravel driveway aprons will be replaced with gravel.
In explaining the roadway improvements, Schuster noted the travel lanes will be 11 feet wide and have an additional three foot wide paved shoulder and one foot wide gravel shoulder on the far outside. When the road is redone, the existing pavement will be pulverized and have additional base material added to average depth of three inches, then three inches of asphalt will be placed on top. This will effectively raise the existing roadway by an average of six inches.
The wider paved shoulder and gravel shoulder will mean the total roadway will be wider than it is currently, meaning the road base will need to be expanded. The result will be an expansion into the current ditch area.
As for the ditches, Schuster said the plan calls for them to be modified accordingly to accommodate the roadway. In addition, the ditches will be cleaned out to the right-of-way to remove anything that might create a hazard for errant vehicles and create potential liabilities for both the county and the property owners.
The ditch work, according to Schuster, is also needed to improve drainage in order to keep water out of the sub-base of the road. To that end, many existing culverts will be replaced and new culverts placed under most driveways. Later in the meeting, Schuster said that clearing the trees in the right-of-way would also allow more sunlight to hit the roadway and thus help with melting of snow and drying.
During the construction phase, Schuster explained the road will be closed to through-traffic; however the construction phase will remain open to local residents, local services and emergency vehicles. However, there may be times when individual homeowners may not be able to get to their homes while work is being done right in front of their premises.
The project schedule is for right-of-way and utility adjustments to be done this summer and fall and road construction will be completed in the summer of 2014. As a way of warning the landowners, it was suggested that small shrubs, decorative landscaping and other privately owned items located within the right-of-way should be removed prior to Aug. 1 of this year.
The entire project is being funded completely by Marinette County. There was talk in the last two years of the project possibly qualifying for special state and federal grants, but that was discovered to not be the case. The work of clearing the right-of-way will be done by the County Highway Department and the county will compete to perform various aspects of the construction
During the Public Comment/Question section of the meeting, most of the comments focused on the need to modify the ditches and install culverts for the purpose of drainage. The collective memory of several residents was that standing or running water has never been a problem because of the spring thaw or heavy rains, even during the high lake levels of the late 70s. Schuster explained that in most cases the distance between the top of the new surface and the bottom of the ditches will be about two feet.
Other questions were on the topics of additional utility relocation, the raised height of the roadway, the rise in the cost of the project from what was estimated two years ago, bridge replacement, and the costs for engineering work and ditching work.
Several residents also used the meeting to level personal attacks against Marinette County Highway Commissioner Ray Palonen and Schuster, as well as his company. The remarks led several dozen residents to leave the meeting in disgust.
After the meeting, a man who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his concern about the condescending, elitist attitude displayed by a handful of fellow residents.
In addition to comments at the meeting, residents were invited to submit written comments either on the forms provided, or by mailing them to Mark Schuster, Robert E. Lee and Associates, 4664 Golden Pond Park Court, Hobart, WI, 54155.
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