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Sheridan Springs will have traffic signals

December 15, 2010 | 08:52 AM
The Edwards Boulevard extension north has been open since October, but one more piece remains to put the finishing touches on it.

In time for summer, traffic lights and a reworked intersection at Sheridan Springs Road and Interchange North will be installed to improve traffic flow and safety in the area.

On Monday night, the City Council voted to spend more than $282,000 for the work and another $20,000 for project engineering, which will widen Interchange North, revise the sidewalk and intersection and add traffic signals at the location.

The project will be funded through Tax Incremental Financing district money, which included $600,000 set aside for traffic signals around the city.

Sheridan Springs meets Interchange North near Brunk Industries and across from the Shell Horizon gas station. Sheridan Springs is the most- used road to reach the Edwards Boulevard extension frontage road, which runs parallel to Highway 12, and travels past Best Buy, Target and Home Depot before intersecting with Highway 50.

Interchange North will be widened on the north side, which is where the gas station is. There will be two lanes and a southbound turn lane onto Sheridan Springs for those heading west.

While heading north at the intersection, there will be plenty of space to turn left, go straight into the gas station facility or turn right to head east on Interchange North.

Lake Geneva Public Works Director Dan Winkler said traffic is increasing in that area because of the Edwards Extension.

He said this reworked and signaled intersection will make it safer for people turning left from Sheridan Springs on to Interchange North. It also will improve traffic flow around the area, he said.

Former alderman Tom Spellman disagreed with the claims of use of the Edwards Extension and need for the traffic signal expenditure.

He said he still uses Highway 12 and suggested there was "no traffic" on the Edwards extension. Spellman said that proves the road doesn't justify spending $300,000.

"I can't use the road," he said during public comments of the Finance, License and Regulation Committee. "I can't figure out how to use it."

He called spending money to install traffic lights at the intersection, "another folly."

Winkler said traffic numbers have been analyzed. Previous existing data information was used and projections were made based on the addition of the Edwards Boulevard extension. He said it showed 42 percent goes to Target and uses the north part of the extension.

Alderman Frank Marsala said he has been approached by taxpayers asking if traffic lights would be installed at the intersection.

The plan from the start of the project has included work on the Sheridan Springs and Interchange North intersection.

On a 7-1 vote, the city awarded the bid to Mann Bros., Elkhorn, to perform the work. There were three other bidders for the project. Three bids were relatively close, while the fourth was $340,000.

The council also voted 7-1 to agree to engineering services with Crispell-Snyder at a cost not to exceed $20,900. Alderwoman Mary Jo Fesenmaier voted against both motions.

Winkler said work is expected to start "when the winter weather breaks," likely in spring. There will be no road closures on either Sheridan Springs or Interchange North during the work and installation of lights.

On April 1, 2008, Lake Geneva voters approved the Edwards Boulevard extension project on a 1,110-658 vote.

The project, which was approved by voters to not exceed $2.9 million, extended Edwards Boulevard north from the Target and Best Buy area to Sheridan Spring Road and it includes a bridge over the White River.

RYAN Companies, developers of Target, chipped in $600,000. The cost of the road was $2 million.

The hope for the extension has been to improve traffic flow and congestion in the city and help the businesses currently on the north end of Edwards Boulevard.

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