Tuesday, June 24, 2008

USH 63 reconstruction project will take longer than expected

Mohamed Mounir, Department of Transportation Project Manager for the USH 63 project through Baldwin.

There's good news and bad news about the USH 63 reconstruction project through Baldwin.

The good news is the same as always: when it's finished there will be a new, smooth roadway; left turn lanes; and new traffic signals, including a new signal at 60th Avenue.

The bad news, due largely to unforseen conditions in the roadway itself, is that the project is going to take longer than initially forecast.

Officials of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the contractors for the upgrade project thought before it started that it would be completed about July 18. Now, after a meeting Monday morning among contractors, DOT and village representatives the completion date has been pushed to August 28 according to Mohamed Mounir, Department of Transportation Project Manager.

The problem, according to Mounir, is that the original plan envisioned not having to remove any existing curb and gutter along USH 63 between Florence and Hillcrest Streets. However, when contractors got into the work, they discovered that the existing pavement was about 14 inches thick, rather than the eight inches that had been estimated. Leaving the original curb and gutter, then, would have left a grade of five percent from the center of the road to the curb line, which is too much for safety reasons, said Mounir. So the solution is to remove all the existing curb and gutter and replace it with new, which will result in a longer project.

Mounir noted that the bridge replacement project over the Baldwin Creek is progressing according to schedule.

In the end, said Mounir, correcting the plan to provide for the right slope for the road is the right thing to do, although it will draw out the project. "I believe is will be a benefit to the town-to do it right," he said.