UPDATE Nov. 14: At 7 p.m. July 15 at the East Side Community Center, 6156 Douglas Ave., the Village Board will discuss alternatives for the realignment of Highway 38, which includes a potential jurisdictional update of Four Mile Road. They also want to reconsider the 2035 transportation plan.
Original story: The County Board doesn’t want Highway 38 rerouted and neither does Caledonia Village Board, but some residents say they want a new road.
And now, amongst the confusion and lack of support, the project has now been put on hold by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and will be reevaluated in January, a process that can take up to a year.
According to a story by the Racine Journal Times, the County Board voted unanimously at their meeting Tuesday to ask the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to revisit the project, which includes rerouting the section between Six Mile Road and Highway K.
The Village Board is in favor of the first phase of the project from Six Mile Road north to Oakwood Road, but the second phase between Six Mile Road and Highway K is problematic. Jim Ladwig, Racine County Executive, told the Village Board last month that the County supported the Village Board’s position.
Jim Dobbs, a Village Board member, said the second phase of the project doesn’t make sense since the state just poured $10 million into upgrading that section of the road a few years ago.
A 2004 Traffic study looked at traffic counts south of Six Mile, which are expected to be 12,000 to 14,000 in 2035.
“But they are saying that 15,000 is acceptable for them to consider a four-lane highway,” Dobbs said. “So even then it didn’t meet that criteria… to put in four lanes.”
Under the current proposal, the $125 million road project would run through a proposed 390-acre expansion of the Franksville Business Park, which would essentially render about 80 acres useless. The old road would also become the responsibility of the Village to maintain and the Village can only afford to pave four to five miles of road a year, Dobbs said.
“What we’re saying is this: stay on the existing Highway 38, then come down H to Four Mile, then take Four Mile to the existing 38, then we can make Nicholson Road wider and better,” Dobbs said.
Another option the Village wants considered is widening Six Mile Road, and Highway H to Highway 38.
But to throw a monkey wrench in all of this, some Caledonia residents want to see the project go through as is because they want less traffic on Highway 38.
Wolf Korndoerfer, 3315 Patzke Lane, told the Village Board earlier this month that he doesn’t want the roads widened.
“It’s a real safety issue because of the hills and the curves, and I don’t see how expanding its current location could make it less safe,” Korndoerfer said. “It’s a concern because routing it out by the industrial park would be good for economic development. We’re just opposed to the expansion of it in the current right of way.”
So, where does that leave the project?
Mike Hayek, the Village Engineer, said he received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation yesterday saying they are re-evaluating the project and it could take from six months to a year before a decision is reached, and they don’t anticipate that process beginning until January.
Mark Gottlieb, Secretary of the DOT, stated in that letter, “It is critical, regardless of the outcome, to work together to harvest the best decisions that balance the many complex goals of all stakeholders.”