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'Questionable material' found beneath road at County NN project in Elkhorn

By Catherine W. Idzerda
July 20, 2015

ELKHORN—Walworth County officials are working with an environmental engineer and the DNR to determine the contents of “questionable material” found beneath County NN.

Over the last two weeks, workers on the County NN reconstruction project have dug up some blue-gray dirt with a slight petroleum odor, according to a news release from the Walworth County Department of Public Works.

The material has been placed in the corner of an unused parking lot and covered with plastic, and much of the odor has dissipated, said Kevin Brunner, head of Walworth County Public Works and Central Services.

“We're just being very cautious about it,” Brunner said. “There's no health issue.”

The material was found beneath the pavement near the Aurora Health Care Center, W3985, County NN. The material will be tested, and the county will work with the DNR to properly disposed of it, Brunner said.

The property in and around the Walworth County complex and the health care center used to be home to the county farm. But records don't give any clue as to what the material is, according to a county news release.

The discovery of the material has not stopped work on the project, which started in April.

Work includes a complete reconstruction of County NN from 1,300 feet east of Bray Road near Interstate 43 to the eastern side of the county complex that includes the courthouse, jail, Lakeland Health Care Center and Lakeland School.

The $3.4 million project will add left turn lanes and bike lanes. Nearly 100 trees will be planted near the county complex.

The project is scheduled to by completed by Oct. 31.

The County NN project is in advance of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's construction project, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in fall. The state plans to build new County NN bridges over Highway 12 and reconstruct the ramps and parts of the roads leading to and from the interchange.

Through July 31, motorists on County NN should expect:

-- Driveways on the road's north side to be closed for short periods of time. At least one entrance to the jail and one to the health care center will always remain open but under “flagging conditions,” according to the news release.

-- Closed parking areas. The Aurora overflow parking lot and some of the stalls at the judicial center and the health and human services building will remain closed.