Few public comments at Highway 45 controlled access hearing

Those attending a public hearing at the Kenosha County Center on controlled access for Highway 45look over maps and talk among themselves after the hearing.

A Wisconsin Department of Transportation hearing on designating Highway 45 a controlled-access highway drew about 40 audience members Monday night at the Kenosha County Center in Bristol.

But only two members of the public made comments or asked questions during the formal hearing. Others may have submitted written comments or made one-on-one oral statements to a court reporter.

To open the hearing, Robert Elkin, planning supervisor for WisDOT, Southeast Region, read a statement that took up the bulk of the formal hearing.

The state is seeking to control the number of access points to Highway 45 though Kenosha County, which passes through Bristol and Paris, to improve safety, Elkin said.

If enacted, controlled access would not change the highway’s hysical configuration at this point, such as adding lanes or ramps etc.

“The proposed control of access is in the interest of safety, convenience and general welfare of the public,” Elkin read. “It will also preserve the traffic-carrying capability of the existing roadway, protect the existing public investment in the facility, and prevent an increase in accident potential.”

State statutes give the state authority to designate controlled access on rural state and US highways. Highway 45 in the subject area carries an average traffic volume of about 7,000 vehicles a day, Elkin said.

Under the controlled access plan that the state has been working on since last year, all existing public road connections to Highway 45 are proposed to remain as is. Future development of properties along the highway will require the owner to arrange access to the highway. To do that, internal road systems may be needed to access joint driveways or be routed to adjacent public roads.

Both the Bristol Village Board and the Paris Town Board declined to consider lateral access restrictions for municipal roads that intersected with Highway 45. They had been asked by the state to grant those restrictions.

Several public officials were in attendance, though none commented, including Bristol village President Mike Farrell and Bristol Trustees Bill Glembocki, John McCabe and Carolyn Owens and Paris Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt. State Sen. Van Wanggaard, whose district includes Western Kenosha County under redistricting, was one of the two audience members who spoke. He asked about, but was not provided, statistics that pointed to the need for controlled access.

Written comments postmarked by March 26, 2012 will be included as part of the testimony from the hearing.


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