The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be seeking public comments at an informational meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.
According to a DOT press release, the agency will conduct what it calls a “public involvement meeting” to discuss the current and future needs of U.S. Highway 51 between 3rd Street in Woodruff and State Highway 70 East in Arbor Vitae.
A brief presentation is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m.
The remainder of the meeting will follow an open house format.
The press release states the DOT is seeking the public’s ideas on proposed preliminary alternatives to address the current and long-term needs of Hwy. 51.
Some of the needs identified by the DOT along this section of Hwy. 51 include:
• The pavement and curb and gutter are deteriorating.
• The storm sewer drainage system is deteriorated.
• The traffic demands of the intersections of Hwy. 51 and State Highway 47 in Woodruff and U.S. Hwy. 51 and State Highway 70 East in Arbor Vitae are creating inefficient operations at the intersections.
The press release states crash data indicates safety problems with left-turning movements along the corridor.
The improvement project for the stretch of Hwy. 51 is currently scheduled to take place during 2017.
On Feb. 7, Arbor Vitae Town Chairman Frank Bauers and Woodruff Town Chairman Mike Timmons, along with Oneida County Highway Department head Freeman Bennett Jr. and Vilas County Highway Commissioner Jarred Maney met with DOT officials regarding the project.
“I’m kind of anxious to see what they come up with,” Bauers told The Lakeland Times in late January.
A roundabout at the intersection of highways 51 and 70 East, for example, is something that Fred McCue, of the DOT’s Rhinelander office, said is something that by federal mandate has to at least be considered for projects of this size and scope.
Bauers said in January a roundabout there “would be terrible.”
“Look at how much property they would need to accomplish it,” he said. “They’d take parking away from The Plantation, The Store, Little Muskie [now Preuss’s Pub]. Those things take up a pretty good sized area.”
Brian Jopek may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.