Council approves spot repairs
By Angie Landsverk
Spots on a block of Waupaca’s Main Street will be patched this year, and the city may need to address other parts of the street before it is reconstructed in 2021.
The common council voted 10-0 on May 2 to spend about $5,000 patching two particular areas of Main Street.
One spot is around the intersection of Main and Fulton streets, while the other is the southbound lane of Main Street near its intersection with Union Street.
“The crosswalk at Fulton and Main is probably the worst part of the entire Main Street. It’s a trip hazard,” Justin Berrens, the city’s director of public works, told the council.
The Department of Public Works will now begin coordinating the work.
That will include determining the exact locations of the spot repairs, Berrens said.
A city crew will set up traffic control, saw cut the pavement, remove the pavement and prepare the base, he said.
The paving will follow and could be done by the Waupaca County Highway Department or a private company, Berrens said.
“We will do our part to ensure the best cost is used,” he said.
As to when the work will take place, Berrens said, “I’d imagine the work will be done soon (before the end of the month) but cannot put a specific date on it yet.”
City officials and council members received complaints about the condition of Main Street after the Wisconsin Department of Public Transportation (WDOT) pushed the reconstruction of Main Street to 2021.
The common council learned that in March, after expecting the project to begin in 2019.
“With the project recently being pushed back, it brought the focus from the public on the condition of the roadway. That is why we were planning the project to begin with,” Berrens said.
He said the block of Main Street between Union and Fulton streets particularly drew complaints from the public.
The city’s Public Works Department was then asked to review the condition of it and provide maintenance and repair options for the street before it is reconstructed in 2021.
The other option Berrens presented to the council was to mill and pave that block of the street at a cost of $20,000 to $25,000.
Either option would last until 2021, he said.
“If you pave the whole thing, the benefit is you won’t have to touch it again (before 2021),” Berrens said. “With patching, there’s the possibility of other spots needing patching in a couple years. Then you’re looking at the same thing – spending $4,000 to $5,000.”
He noted other city streets may need spot repairs and either option affects his department’s budget and requires the shuffling of projects.
“I’m recommending the patch,” Berrens said.
The common council agreed with his recommendation.
“I think it is the most cost effective for now,” said Ald. Eric Olson.
He said that option leaves funds for other areas of the city that may be in need of patching, too.
Ald. Alan Kjelland said if that block of the street was milled and paved now, it would have to be torn up in four or five years anyway when the infrastructure underneath it is replaced.
Planning is underway for both the reconstruction of Main Street and the redevelopment of the downtown district.
The reconstruction of Main Street will be from Badger to Water streets.
The infrastructure under the street is more than 100 years old.
The reconstruction project will include the replacement of the city’s water, sewer and storm sewer.
Berrens said other utilities, such as telephone, internet and electric, may also be updated.
That will be up to the owners of those utilities, he said.
The companies will be contacted early in the design phase, Berrens said.
During the May 2 meeting, Ald. Chuck Whitman asked if there is a guarantee the street will be reconstructed in 2021.
Mayor Brian Smith replied, “It’s not going to be shorter. We missed doing it in 2018-19 because we chose to go through the process we are going through.”
The city is completing a Downtown Master Plan, and it is anticipated to take two years to design the project.
“It should happen in 2021,” Berrens said in regard to the reconstruction of the street.
The city’s consultant presented the draft redesign of Main Street during an April 24 open house.
It provided three potential funding levels to the city: $4.8 million, $5.3 million and $5.8 million.
The city’s staff recommends the $4.8 million level, but to design the project for the $5.3 million level, so the infrastructure is in place to add design elements in the future.
Businesses, organizations or individuals could decide to sponsor some design aspects of the project.
The city already qualifed for about $1.7 million in federal funding for the project and is also eligible for up to $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.
The common council has not yet approved a funding level for the project.