New London, Mukwa officials discuss details
By John Faucher
Town of Mukwa and New London city officials met last week to discuss the repaving of State Highway 54 between Royalton and New London next summer.
Several officials from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation were also present.
The scope of the $2.1 million dollar project includes milling the existing pavement and overlaying new pavement from the Royalton overhead bridge to Jeanne Street in New London.
The 5.3-mile project is set to occur in July and August 2016. It will also include improving the beam guard, culvert replacement, and installing rumble strips on the centerline and shoulders.
Ryan Barz, project manager for AECOM, said the project should take approximately six weeks from the start in mid-July.
Most of the construction will be a moving operation with one lane of traffic open and involve flagging operations on each end of the construction. There will be a one to two week period of road closure for culvert replacement between New London and Northport.
During the culvert replacements, traffic will be detoured north via State 22 to U.S. 45 north of New London.
Need for the project
Officials discussed the need for the project to occur in 2016. Currently STH 54 pavement contains a substantial amount of reflective cracking, deterioration and potholes.
Barz said the original concrete pavement from the 1930s exists beneath the asphalt overlay. The road was resurfaced in 1977 and again in 1996.
The project includes milling off the top four inches of asphalt, and replacing it with four inches of new asphalt.
When asked why they cannot do a complete reconstruct, DOT officials said it was not possible in the budget. They also said they believed resurfacing would extend the road’s lifespan another 20 years.
Barz said that in looking at safety improvements and costs they decided to include centerline and shoulder rumble strips. “There is a pattern of run off the road crashes there,” he said.
Rumble strips will help, he added.
Town supervisor Lee Shaw asked if any funds could be available this year to address some of the deep potholes currently in the roadway, creating hazards for motorists.
“There are some really bad sections, you have to do something,” said Shaw.
New London City Engineer Jeff Bodoh agreed.
“Some of those potholes are nasty and they will actually grab you,” he said.
Wendy Arneson, WisDot Project Manager said they would refer that issue to their maintenance section, if it had not already been done.
She said the county currently works with the DOT maintenance section on those types of repairs.
The resurfacing portion of the project next year will be placed out on bids after the final design work is completed by Feb. 1, 2016.
The scope of the project will stay within the existing right of way, although DOT staff is required to provide an encroachment report as an ongoing maintenance procedure. They will work with individual landowners if anything is found that needs to be addressed.
One resident along State 54 said he felt it was poor planning to resurface the road and not fix the underlying problem through a complete reconstruction.
He was told the funding was not available for such a project at this time.