Delavan's Highway 50 project proceeding.

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Xavier Ward | June 12, 2017

DELAVAN—It wouldn't be summer in Wisconsin if motorists weren't sharing the road with orange construction barrels.

Some projects draw more public acrimony than others, but the Highway 50 expansion project in Delavan is proceeding just how it should, city Public Works Director Mark Wendorf said.

“It's proceeding, as far as we know, as planned,” he said.  

The project has hit one speed bump. Part of the project is laying a new water main under a portion of the highway, but the pipe years ago was laid at two feet deep, and it's supposed to be seven feet, Wendorf said.

The complication shouldn't throw the project off its timeline, he said. The water and sewer commission authorized $70,000 in contingency funding to dig the water main deeper, and it's set to finish by mid to late July, Wendorf said.

“One thing the traveling public hates is driving by a project and there's nothing going on,” he said.

Another issue the project has faced is the amount of traffic through the construction zone, Wendorf said.

“The construction workers are getting a little nervous with the amount of people that are driving through,” Wendorf said.

Wendorf said there have been a number of close calls with workers and cars.

“It's open to local traffic to get to the local businesses, but it's not supposed to be open to drive through from end to end,” he said.

He said the department is balancing the safety of workers with the concerns of businesses on the highway.

“We're sensitive to the concerns of those businesses, but we're also trying to maintain the safety of those workers,” O'Neill said.

“End-loaders and construction equipment and cars do not meet well,” he said.

The complaints aren't just coming from the construction workers but also people who live along detour routes, Police Chief Tim O'Neill said.

“Our focus lately in response to citizen's complaints has been enforcing speed and stop sign violations on other arterial streets,” O'Neill said.

He said he has stationed more officers in the area to prevent speeding and enforce stop signs in the residential areas of the detour routes.

“The ongoing issue is that we have a fire station with emergency vehicles and full-time paramedics in the middle of that zone,” he said.

The crews and emergency vehicles have been working together well so far, O'Neill said.
Wendorf said Sheboygan contractor Buteyn-Peterson was hired to complete the project, which has three parts:

-- Widening the portion of Highway 50 between Park Avenue and 1450 E. Geneva St.

This part of the work will also add a median, Wendorf has told The Gazette before.

The area near Borg Road and Wright Street—where Highway 50 meets I-43—also will be widened and become a signaled intersection, Wendorf said.

This part of the project will not require road closure, he said.

-- Repaving Highway 50 between Park Avenue and Wisconsin Street and replacing the water main under the street, Wendorf said.

This part of the project, scheduled to finish July 17, is the only part not paid for by state or federal funds, Wendorf said.

The city originally planned to pay $682,100 to replace the water main, which is reflected in the 2017 budget, but the use of contingency funds has increased that, he said. The city originally budgeted for up to $910,000 for the water main work.

-- Installing a walkway along the north side of Highway 50 to connect Wright Street to an existing walkway east of I-43, Wendorf said.

The work is set to finish Nov. 1, Wendorf said.

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