By Joe Bachman
Residents were invited to see the future of E. Grand Ave. on Thursday night at city hall.
A presentation was given by City Engineer Joe Eichsteadt regarding the reconstruction project that will give a facelift to E. Grand Ave. from the Grand Ave. bridge to 8th St. South. Joining him were members of Madison civil engineering firm Strand Associates, which will be assisting with the project. The public was offered to view the exhibits and ask questions in an open forum format.
E. Grand Ave. was last rebuilt in 1952, and sees 5,000-10,000 vehicles per day. In 2013, the city submitted a request to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for funding with a reconstruction project.
“The city has determined that this street is no longer economical due to its condition,” said Eichsteadt.
Part of the reconstruction is to redo the intersection at Jackson St. into one of three options — A roundabout, a traffic stop, or an all-way stop. Out of the recommendations, both Strand engineering and city recommend the all-way stop. This also would include the repaving of the entire street from E. Grand Ave. to 8th St. South, updating sidewalks, curb ramps, and water mains.
“Right now we’re in the preliminary design stage,” said Strand representative Eric Hanson. “We’re pretty early in the process, which is a good opportunity to get input from the community.”
After tonight, the city and the firm will work towards a final design which is slated to be completed by August of 2018. Reconstruction would begin in 2019. The city is currently looking for additional funds for the stretch of the Wisconsin River to 3rd St.
A separate project at 8th St. South and E. Grand Ave. will be reconstructed next year.
“The exhibits include one travel lane in each direction — right now there are two travel lanes, eastbound,” said Hanson. “The proposal is to get rid of one of those travel lanes and just have one in each direction. — What that does is give a lot of flexibility because that frees up room to work within the right-away.”
The finished design should see a similar look to W. Grand Ave. Public Works Director Joe Terry was on hand to answer questions regarding the proposed construction and why the city recommends the all-way stop.
“Based on the traffic flows and how effective some of out other four-way stops are with the traffic flows and predictions that we have, there can really be some benefits to continually having flow at a four-way stop,” said Terry. “Often times in a signal light situation, you often have to wait sometimes at a red light when nobody is there.”
Feedback from citizens on hand seemed positive, and the consensus seems to be with the all-way stop.
“Generally, it sounds interesting,” said resident Stephen Taylor. “I’m not overly fond of roundabouts — I agree with the four-way; I think it’ll make traffic flow better.”
“My main concern is kids being able to cross the street safely,” said resident Marissa Vreeland. “I don’t like the roundabout idea — so it’s between the traffic signal and the all-way.”
For more information on the project, or to voice questions and concerns, please call 715-421-8205.