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Shimeck: Burlington bypass still on schedule

June 23, 2010 | 08:56 AM
Lyons — For the last couple years now, Burlington bypass construction has affected Highways 36 and 11.

From home displacement to high speed limits to road damage, issues have given Lyons officials and residents alike plenty of headaches.

The new highway is scheduled to be completed in November, and everything is right on course. Ultimately, motorists will have more options driving from Burlington to Lake Geneva, and trucks will be able to bypass downtown Burlington traffic.

Where does Lyons fit into this equation?

The Regional News sat down with Town Board Supervisor Jim Shimeck to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the more than $100 million project.

Is everything on schedule for November completion?

Based on the latest DOT updates, the Burlington bypass is on schedule for completion sometime in November. Weather conditions between now and then will be the determining factor as to the exact completion date for the project.

How has the last phase, Highway 11 being blocked

off, affected the township? Have you received any

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complaints from residents about detours?

The Lyons residents that live on the northern edge of the town have been somewhat affected by the Highway 11 closure. The Highway 36 closure during 2009 had a much larger impact on the town as a whole. I have not heard any specific complaints as to the Highway 11 shutdown so far.

How effective has the change from 55 to 45 mph

on the overpass helped or hurt traffic?

For example speeding, accidents, complaints?

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Not enough time has passed since the Highway 36 reopening to determine definitive trends in the speed limit reduction. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many travelers are still not aware of the reduced speed limit on Highway 36 east of Mangold Road.

The Wisconsin State Patrol has had an undercover vehicle camped out in the newly reduced speed limit area for much of this spring. I continue to caution motorists to watch their speed in this area.

What will be the biggest benefit to the

township once this thing is completed?

The biggest benefit would have been to never spend the $100-plus million dollars of taxpayer money in the first place. Unfortunately, this is quite literally water under the bridge. The upside of note is that our society is heavily dependent on automobiles.

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Giving more route options to motorists is almost always a positive net result. The main question to me is, was it worth the costs both financial and personal? Time will tell the ultimate answer to this question.

Is there still any lingering disdain about the project, especially from past or current residents who have had to relocate?

I have heard of very few complaints by the residents displaced by the construction. Most have moved to new homes more than three years ago, and have started over fresh in a new area.

How are things with the trailer park underneath the

overpass? Have residents been open to the construction?

The residents that live adjacent to the overpass are the ones that I have the most sympathy for.

They have been the ones most inconvenienced by this project.

The quality of life in their homes will never return to what it once was only a few short years ago.

What is the next step for the town in regard to construction? What are some upcoming projects?

Much of the town road infrastructure has received a good deal of abuse during the bypass construction. This includes both roads and bridges.

Much of Spring Valley Road including a bridge will need replacement due to the heavy traffic from the bypass construction.

Other road projects are pending.

Check next week's Regional News for more photos from the bypass and the Country Estates groundbreaking.

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