Only one thing seems certain regarding the future of County Road Q between State Highway 54 and Round Lake Road.
Farmington residents and town board members want the road project to be completed as soon as possible.
What remains uncertain is when the project, which was scheduled for last year, will be started and how extensive the project will be.
Waupaca County Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber spoke at a meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Farmington Town Hall.
He presented four different options for proceeding with the County Q project.
Under the first option, County Q would be totally reconstructed at an estimated cost of $820,000. The reconstructed road would have a new base with 12-foot lanes, five-foot paved shoulders and three-foot gravel shoulders.
The intersection with Golke Road would also be improved. Currently, County Q has a y-split at Golke, where through traffic curves east toward the Chain O’ Lakes or goes straight to an intersection to turn west onto Golke toward Hartman Creek State Park.
Citizens at the Feb. 7 meeting described the County Q-Golke Road intersection as dangerous.
“In my opinion that intersection and that curve are a big safety hazard,” said Mark Lembke, who lives near there. “I see a lot of traffic going through the stop sign, I see a lot of squad cars out there, and I see a lot of cars in the ditches.”
The second option Steingraber presented would be to reclaim and repave the road without realigning the intersection.
The reclaimed road would have an improved base and new pavement with 11-foot lanes and three-foot gravel shoulders.
Steingraber said the reclamation project would cost about $400,000. He also noted that $100,000 of that amount would actually go to repaying federal grant money that had been approved for a reconstruction project on County Q.
“Even by doing nothing, we would still have to pay back $100,000 in federal funding,” Steingraber said.
Steingraber said part or all of the three-foot shoulders could be paved as part of the reclamation project. He also said that improvements could be made to the Golke Road intersection. He offered a rough estimate of $150,000 for adding the intersection improvements.
A third option was to mill and overlay the road, which would provide new pavement without improving the base.
Steingraber said overlaying the road with new pavement would cost $250,000, plus $100,000 to pay back the grant, for a total of $350,000.
The fourth option presented was to do nothing. In addition to the $100,000 in federal funds, the county has already spent about $8,000 to purchase land from property owners along the project.
Steingraber said the benefits of total reconstruction would be to have a road that can better accommodate agricultural machinery, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the heavy summer traffic.
Comparing the options, he said reconstruction will cost more initially, but result in lower maintenance costs over the long run.
Steingraber attributed the delay in the County Q project to the county having other roads in greater need of repair and to a perceived lack of consensus in Farmington.
He said the county wanted clear direction from the town board and the residents regarding the project.
Most of the residents at the meeting seemed to support reconstructing the road.
One resident described County Q as an embarrassment. Others noted that it is one of the first impressions many tourists have of the area when they visit the Chain or the state park.
“I work at the Wheelhouse and bike a lot and walk a lot on that road,” said Sonja Nellis. “We need more room.”
Town board members, however, indicated they supported a less expensive option.
Supervisor Eugene Engebretson said he believed reclaiming the road would be as effective as reconstruction.
Town Chairman Dale Trinrud, however, said the board had never requested that the county reclaim rather than rebuild County Q.
“If it takes reconstruction to get this project done, then do it,” Trinrud said.
“We can stay here till midnight and not get 100 percent consensus,” said Supervisor Gerald Murphy, who represents Farmington on the Waupaca County Board, “But the one message you should take from this meeting is that we want it done as soon as possible.”