Home

 


Road work will widen Underwood Avenue


Kathleen McGwin
An operational planning meeting about a 2018 Department of Transportation (DOT) road project was held on Monday at Montello City Hall.  QUEST Civil Engineers were hired by the DOT as project design consultants and have been in communication with city, county and other parties planning for the future project for over a year.  The City of Montello road work is split into two projects.  One will make improvements from Park Street to West Street and the other will rebuild State Highway 23 from Morningside Court to Park Street.

Attending the meeting from the City of Montello were Mayor Mike Ott, Police Chief Richard Olson, Councilpersons Ron Knudtson and Ken Streich and Public Works Director Glenn Buchholz.  Marquette County Highway Commissioner Brendon Rhinehart was also there and County Surveyor Jerry Smart later joined the meeting.  Jim Wendels, Project Manager with QUEST introduced Dan Holloway, DOT Project Manager and together they explained the project, the timeline and three alternative plans for the highway project.

The present roadway from Morningside to Park has two 12-foot driving lanes with 3-foot shoulders.  The shoulder width varies along the route.  Concrete curb exists only in portions of the route.  Much of the route has 4-foot sidewalks with varying boulevard width.  The boulevard is the space between the sidewalk and the curb/road.  There is no restriction on parking on either side at present in this area.

The three alternatives that may be changed before the final plan is chosen were explained to those present.  It was emphasized that this is the beginning of the design and there will be public meetings before a final design is picked.  The first public meeting will be in May.  It was also explained that the City of Montello will have to pay the cost of any work chosen beyond what the DOT project will pay for, like providing parking space on either side of the road. 

In all alternatives, the driving lanes will be increased in width from 12 feet to at least 16 feet, increasing total road width by 8 feet.  This accommodates bike traffic and is required by the state.  This does not provide a designated bike lane, however.  All three alternatives also add 30-inch concrete curb and gutter to both sides of the street.  The three present alternatives, which may be changed before the public meeting, are:

Alternative 1 (no street parking on either side of road)
• Replace 12 foot lanes with 16 foot lanes
• Add 30 inch curb and gutter to both sides
• Replace existing sidewalk with 5 foot walk and 5 foot boulevard on both sides
Alternative 2 (parking on road north side only)
• Replace 12 foot lanes with 16 foot lanes
• Add 30 inch curb and gutter to both sides
• Replace existing sidewalk with 5 foot walk and 5 foot boulevard on both sides
• Increase the width of the north  lane to 22 feet from Ellis Street to Barry Street to accommodate parking on the north side
Alternative 3 (parking on both sides of the road)
• Replace 12 foot lanes with 16 foot lanes
• Add 30 inch curb and gutter to both sides
• Replace existing sidewalk with 5 foot walk and 5 foot boulevard on both sides
• Increase the width of the north  lane to 22 feet from Ellis Street to Barry Street to accommodate parking on the north side
• Increase the width of the south lane to 22 feet from Ellis Street to Barry Street to accommodate parking on the south side.

The City of Montello will be taking up the issue of using this opportunity to replace antiquated sewer and water lines.  Improved street lighting along this corridor may be considered as a cost share project with the City and the DOT. 

It is too early in the project, Wendels said, to know if and how traffic will be detoured during the work.  Property owners will always have access to their property, he said.  Presently, mail is delivered to boxes located at the road.  This may have to change, perhaps using a grouping of boxes at one location, it was explained at the meeting.  Depending on which alternative is chosen, there may be some acquisition of property by the DOT to accommodate the widening of the road.

In researching the needed background information, QUEST found that there was no plat of record on file through Montello along Highway 23 to Highway 22 south.  The DOT approved surveys through that whole corridor and that is now on file that shows right of way and ownership along the corridor.  Also in preparing for the work, an archeological survey will be completed.  It is on record that artifacts were found in the past showing Native American habitation at some points along the corridor. 

The public will be able to see the alternatives and make comment at the public meeting that will be announced.  That first meeting will probably be in May with another one in the fall.  Work is projected to begin in 2018, but may begin in 2017 if plans move forward to allow an earlier start date.