The first half of 2017 was busy in Wisconsin DOT's SE Region, as representatives worked closely with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s
Main Street and Connect Communities program to help business located near road construction projects prepare and work with the changes that come with having a business in proximity of a road work project.
In January, dozens of business owners turned out to a community meeting where they received an overview of the upcoming WIS 50 construction. SE Region representatives from Economic Development Planner Liz Callin and Urban and Regional Planner Supervisor Andrew Levy, Construction Project Planner Brad Bowe, and Region Communication Manager Brian DeNeve teamed up with the Delavan Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Delavan Downtown Business Association and city of Delavan to share construction information as well as tips for operating effectively during this time. WEDC Main St. Downtown Development Account Manager Errin Welty also attended the meeting, sharing the organization's observations. Participants discussed how to prepare for the upcoming construction and ways businesses could market themselves during construction. This involved a presentation followed with break-out groups.
In April, DeNeve was the keynote speaker for the statewide webinar for the WEDC Community Development Deep Dive Webinar Series. He spoke to representatives from municipalities, chambers of commerce and downtown groups about Wisconsin DOT’s life of a highway project, which is the community-focused process that encourages interaction and input from local businesses and property owners at all stages of planning and development of highway construction projects. DeNeve discussed ways to become involved during the design process and how businesses could promote themselves during construction.
In May, Wisconsin DOT Design Project Manager Justin Suydam, DeNeve and Welty teamed up with Absolutely Waterford and the village of Waterford to present on next year’s WIS 20/83 reconstruction from Buena Park Road to WIS 36.
Construction on most Wisconsin highway projects will be suspended from noon on June 30 to July 5 to open roads for the crush of motorists expected during the July 4 holiday.
“To ease traffic congestion, we’re asking our private contractors to halt work on most projects and open up construction zones to the extent possible, but drivers will still need to be patient and alert, allow adequate travel time and following distance,” said Wayne Chase, WisDOT’s Chief Construction Oversight Engineer.
Of the three major summer holidays, the Independence Day period is typically the most heavily traveled. AAA of Wisconsin forecasts that about 840,000 Wisconsinites will travel 50 miles or more on state roadways over the holiday weekend. Last year, 12 people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes during the July Fourth holiday period.