Division Street closes next week
By Scott Bellile
Road closures will begin next week when the $3 million Division Street reconstruction project kicks off.
Starting Monday, April 9, crews will spend the next four months upgrading storm and sanitary sewer systems and performing minor water main updates.
Homeowners were originally given a start date of Monday, April 2, but frost in the ground delayed that.
Road construction will kick off early August and last through mid-fall. The project will end at the Beckert Road intersection 1 mile south of Wolf River Avenue.
Work will begin at the intersection of Beacon Avenue and Division Street and move south. This is a change from the original starting point of the Wolf River Avenue intersection.
Crews will return later to work on the stretch between Wolf River Avenue and Beacon Avenue.
The costs will be shared between the city of New London and Waupaca County Highway Department because Division Street is also County Trunk D except for the three blocks north of Beacon Avenue.
New London Public Services Director Chad Hoerth said the project is estimated to cost $3.1 million to $3.4 million including the engineering expenses. The city of New London will fund the utility work, 50 percent of the roadway work between Beacon Avenue and Beckert Road, and 100 percent of the street reconstruction between Beacon Avenue and Wolf River Avenue.
Waupaca County Highway Department will pay for half of the roadwork between Beacon Avenue and Beckert Road, which is estimated to come in around $700,000.
Residents living along Division Street were mailed information and invited to a public information meeting held March 1.
“We had probably about one-third of the property owners that we invited along the street attend,” Hoerth reported to the New London Board of Public Works on March 5. “It was a little bit lighter than I would have liked to see but it is what it is. I thought the meeting went well.”
To reach the two-thirds of residents who did not show, Hoerth mailed out a 53-minute video explaining the project. The video is available to the public on the New London Access YouTube channel.
The city council on March 13 held a public hearing regarding the special assessments that will be levied against property owners. Several residents attended but none spoke.
The reconstruction project should stay on schedule because it is the only project on Waupaca County Highway Department’s calendar for 2018, Mayor Gary Henke said at the March 5 board of public works meeting.
“They aren’t going to be running between here and the town of Farmington and Iola and whatever [working on other projects],” Henke said of county highway crews. “They’re here, period.”
The undertaking will address drainage problems and aging pavement, bring the street up to state standards, and expand sidewalk coverage.
Work will be divided into two segments.
The first is the northern portion from Wolf River Avenue to Oak Street. Crews will widen the roadway to one consistent width; replace sidewalks, pavement, curb and gutter; and install new storm and sanitary sewer systems.
The second segment runs south of Oak Street to Beckert Road. This portion is not receiving new storm and sanitary sewer or being reconstructed. Rather, crews will lay new asphalt and extend the sidewalk.
“Not everybody wants new sidewalks but it’s a safety thing. We feel that there’s a lot of kids that walk to the schools in the area so having that sidewalk continuously all the way throughout the Division Street project is definitely a benefit and a safety feature for those children using it,” Hoerth said in the video mailed to residents.
Other elements of the project will include:
• At the intersection of Division and Algoma streets, reconstructing storm sewer outfalls, which are the outlets where rainwater is discharged into the river.
• On Wolf River Avenue, putting in a turn lane for eastbound traffic turning right onto Division Street.
• On short segments of Warren and Jennings streets just off of Division Street, performing mill and overlay to eliminate potholes.
Property owners between Wolf River Avenue and Oak Street will be required to replace their private sanitary sewer laterals to their homes if they do not meet building codes.
Hoerth said the city televised the laterals and found tree root growth, blockages and cracks inside.
Residences will be assessed for the portions of lateral running from their property line to their house unless they hire their own contractor to do the job.
About a dozen lead service water laterals will also be replaced by New London Utilities. The properties that currently have lead lines will be assessed for replacement of the water laterals between the curb box and the home.
Division Street will remain open to local traffic only. Driveways will be accessible unless the contractor is working in front of the property. Residents will be given a two-day notice before their driveway is closed.
At the beginning of the project when the Beacon Avenue intersection is closed, the posted detour will be Beckert Road to Mill Street to Wolf River Avenue.
Later on when the Wolf River Avenue intersection closes, the detour will become Mill Street to Beacon Avenue to Pearl Street to West Wolf River Avenue.
Two sets of through streets will remain open except when their respective intersections are under construction: Rowland/Oak streets and Washington Street.
East Washington Street, which is near three public and parochial schools, could get congested after school hours, School District of New London Business Services Director Joe Marquardt cautioned the public during the March 12 school board meeting.
“I think we all know, if we’re talking about it realistically, construction is a challenge,” Marquardt said, “and I have a feeling that there will be some frustrating days, but we will do our very best to have folks move through that challenge as safely as possible.”
No parking zones will be in effect only during school hours on parts of the neighborhood streets surrounding Lincoln Elementary School, Most Precious Blood Catholic School and Emanuel Lutheran School. The reason is to allow room for school buses to pass through streets they normally did not take.
For the duration of the project, parents are asked to drop off Emanuel Lutheran and MPB students in the parking lots of their respective schools. Lincoln Elementary School students should be dropped off in the parking lot of First Congregational United Church of Christ next door.
Tree cutting, replanting
Mid State Tree Service of New London chopped down between 40 and 50 city-owned trees inside the terraces last month. The company will head the replanting efforts after the project.
“We have a plan to put the same number, if not a couple more [trees] back into the street,” Hoerth said in the video. “However, depending on the location of the new utilities or the location of private trees in that area, that’s going to kind of dictate where the new trees would go. It’s not going to be the case where if a tree comes out, a tree is going to go back in that place.”
The trees were cut down because they were close to dying or would have experienced “significant trauma damage” during the project, Hoerth said.
Some younger trees were spared and will be replanted in city parks.
Division Street residents were invited to suggest tree species the city should plant in the public terraces. Hoerth sought a variety because homogenous tree populations would be susceptible to disease outbreaks or emerald ash borers.
Trash, recycling, mail
Graichen Sanitation and Outagamie County’s recycling contractor Inland Services will continue curbside trash and recycling pickup when the streets are accessible to trucks.
When trucks cannot pass through, residents will have to wheel their carts to a communal spot at the corner of the nearest side street for emptying. Hoerth asked residents to tape their address to their cart.
As for mail delivery, houses north of Warren Street will see no change because mailboxes are attached to the houses.
South of Warren Street, where the mailboxes are located along the curbside, residents must temporarily remove their mailboxes so construction crews can access curb, gutter and sidewalks. Those residents will use temporary communal mailbox banks.
Residents living between Warren and Roland streets will find their mailbox bank at the Jennings Street intersection.
Residents from Roland Street to Beckert Road will access their mailbox bank at the Martin Street intersection.
“I know it’s going to be an inconvenience,” Hoerth said about the project as a whole in the video. “There’s going to be dust. There’s going to be mud. There’s going to be loud noises. There’s going to be inconveniences with garbage removal and with the mail pickup. But we’re hoping that this six-month window of this inconvenience is going to have … years of benefit.”