Highway 50 set to be reconstructed through Paddock Lake in 2022

A overview of the Highway 50 project. (Click for a larger view)

Wisconsin Department of Transportation representatives outlined a proposed reconstruction of Highway 50 (75th Street) through Paddock Lake at a public involvement meeting Thursday at Central High School.

The project is currently scheduled to take place in 2022, but has been under discussion since 2010 and was delayed before, said Brian Pluemer, WisDOT project manager.

Pluemer said the paving in the stretch to be rehabbed — roughly between Highway F on the west to 236th Avenue to the east — is in bad shape, in part due to an experimental system under the road surface that has not proven to be effective.

“You people understand the pavement out here is in pretty bad shape,” Pluemer said during a presentation on the project at the meeting.

As currently proposed, the project includes:

  • Replacing pavement, curb and gutter.
  • Storm sewer improvements.
  • Sidewalk extensions on east and west ends of the project.
  • Existing traffic signals to be replaced with a monotube design.
  • Sidewalk ramps to be improved to ADA standards.
  • Replacing two existing retaining walls on the north side of the highway between 246th and 248th avenues.
  • Adding on-road bicycle accommodations. This will come in the form of additional space to accommodate bike riders, but not a formal, marked bike lane.
  • Potential median closures at the Highway 50 and Highway 83/75 intersection.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect among people at the meeting were the median closures at Brass Ball Corners.

As currently proposed, a median crossover on Highway 83 south of Highway 50 that leads to a drug store at the corner would be closed, Pluemer said. The driveway onto the property would remain.

A median crossover on Highway 50 between two gas station/ fast food restaurant combos is also slated to be closed, Pluemer said.

Patricia Warner, who lives on Highway 50 and is a former village trustee, expressed concern about bicyclists being encouraged to ride in the new accommodation area on the roadway, given the speed and volume of traffic on the road.

“I’m worried about people getting killed,” Warner said during the question and answer portion of the presentation.

Pluemer replied that virtually any road project that includes federal funding needs to show accommodation for cyclists. The Highway 50 project will be funded with a combination of federal and state funding.

Though not set in stone, construction would likely take place with two lanes of the highway closed at a time, Pluemer said. When those two were completed, the other two would be closed and all traffic use the new lanes.

One exception to that might be a full closure of the Highways 50 and 83 intersection, Pluemer said. It might be more efficient to close that intersection for 15-20 days then to try to stage construction and have some part of it closed for months.

Several business owners/operators along Highway 50 expressed concerns about impact on their businesses if access is limited or made inconvenient.

Pluemer said access generally would be maintained, but it might require driving over gravel surfaces. He also pointed out that while a short term headache, the road improvement will be a long term plus for the community.

“During construction, I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s going to be tough,” Pluemer said.

The project would likely take a full construction season — from about April to November — to complete, Pluemer said.

The work should last at least 25-30 years and maybe as much as 50 years, Pluemer said.


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