The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking public input on a proposed construction project on Highway 70 between highways H and 45 North, with a public comment period running through next Thursday, July 2. 

The DOT will consider changing the four-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway along Highway 70 between Highway 17 and Highway 45 North. 

The three-lane configuration would be similar to the configuration constructed last year on the Highway 70/45 segment in the city of Eagle River. 

The improvement project is currently scheduled for construction in 2022 and the estimated cost is $1.25 to $1.75 million.

Dan Erva, DOT project manager, said an in-person meeting is not planned based on public health guidelines to limit public gatherings.

All meeting materials, including the handout with a comment form, are posted on the DOT design website for the Highway 70 improvement project at wisconsindot.gov.

“The purpose of the project is to address the pavement on Highway 70, which is showing signs of deterioration,” said Erva in letter distributed by Eagle River City Clerk Debbie Brown.

Brown emailed Erva’s letter and project handout to the News-Review June 16, two days before the start of the June 18 to July 2 comment period.

Proposed improvements include milling and overlaying the existing asphalt surface. Other improvements include spot replacing curb and gutter, drainage infra­structure repairs, replacing sidewalk curb ramps that do not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards and replacing pavement markings.

In addition, the highways 70 and 17 intersection will be improved with new islands and pavement markings. Drainage will be improved at the boat landing located southeast of the intersection in the wayside. 

“The objective of this public comment period is to obtain your input on the identified needs, proposed improvements and real estate needs along this segment of Highway 70,” stated Erva in the letter.



Lane alternatives

Erva said lane configuration alternatives are being considered along this segment of Highway 70. The alternatives are:

• The four-lane alternative would look just like the existing roadway today. There would be no changes to the existing lanes or shoulders.

• A three-lane configuration would consist of a center two-way turn lane, one travel lane in each direction and a paved shoulder. 

“These types of lane reductions have safety and operational benefits for vehicles as well as pedestrians and snowmobiles. Three lanes tend to reduce crash rates, especially for left turns and rear ends,” according to the DOT handout.

The handout noted that curb access typically does not exist at active driveway entrances. There are six existing locations where curb does not exist but does not lead to an apparent driveway entrance. In order to improve roadway drain­age, the curb will be replaced in these areas with full-height curb. 

Erva said additional rights of way will be required for the project, including small areas of permanent and temporary land acquisition at some of the curb ramp locations.

Following the public input period, a final environmental document will be done in July 2020, a final rights of way plat will be developed in September 2020, rights of way acquisition will take place fall 2020 to spring 2021, final plans will be developed in August 2021 and construction will be in summer/fall 2022.

“It is anticipated work will be staged around local events and holidays,” said Erva. “Motorists can expect to encounter daily flagging operations, single lane and shoulder closures during construction.”



Other road projects

In addition to the Highway 70 project between Highway H and Highway 45 North, Mike Wendt, DOT North Central Region planning section chief, said there are several other projects for Highway 70 in the works. 

This summer, the DOT?is planning a resurfacing project on Highway 70, from Highway O to Highway H between St. Germain and Eagle River. The cost is approximately $2 to $2.25 million.

Also this summer, the DOT is resurfacing Highway 70 and replacing culverts from Divide Road to Highway 55.

In the summer of 2021, the DOT has plans to resurface Highway 70 east of Eagle River from Highway 45 to Divide Road. The estimated cost is approximately $3.25 to $3.75 million.