End of summer, end of construction

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Samantha Jacquest
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

JANESVILLE–As summer comes to a close, so will many of the major road projects in Janesville and surrounding communities.

A few major projects in Janesville have blocked, detoured, and otherwise annoyed drivers on a daily basis, but within the next few weeks, most should be nothing but  painful memories.

The projects include:

-- Racine Street interchange, Janesville: From 2006-11, there were 101 crashes and two fatalities at the interchange. Because of those numbers, the state decided that   the design had to change.

Steven Theisen of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said one main cause of crashes was that cars merging onto the Interstate had to speed up too quickly. Another issue was the heavy volume of traffic using the Interstate from Janesville, he said.

“The old design worked out really well in the '50s and '60s, but now there's more traffic in the Janesville area, so we need to update it to match the current design standards,” Theisen said.

The interchange, which has been under construction since June, will be diamond-shaped with two-lane roundabouts to slow traffic getting on and off the Interstate and to make it easier for trucks to merge.

The $10.6 million project is on time and should be completed by the end of November at the latest.

-- River Street, Janesville: This connection to downtown Janesville was in “really bad condition,” with 5-inch cracks and potholes everywhere, said David Bottcher, project leader with Bollinger, Lach & Associates.

“It was done for,” Bottcher said. “River Street was the roughest street I have ever worked on. It definitely needed replacement.”

This $1.25-million project started in May and is on schedule, and the road should be open the first week in September, with landscaping taking a few weeks longer.

Bottcher said crews had sewer issues during the project, but the city was diligent in making decisions and fixing the problems.

The intersections on either side of River Street at Court Street and Racine Street will be closed sometime during the first week of September.

-- Pearl Street, Janesville: Pearl Street will officially reopen Friday, although project manager Mike Rebman with the city of Janesville said “it's pretty much open.”

“We've got a few miscellaneous things to take care of, but traffic has already taken over,” Rebman said.

The work by Rock Road was budgeted at $458,204. Rebman said it probably will cost less because it was simpler than expected and more of a maintenance project than reconstruction.

“It's an old street that was in desperate need of rehabilitation," Rebman said. "It reached its life expectancy."

-- County O, Walworth County: This $2.8-million project from Delavan to County A has been underway since June and is on time to be completed the second week of September. The project is part of the annual Walworth County Pavement Analysis Ranking System, which ranks and determines which county roads need repaving the most.

Kevin Brunner, director of central services for Walworth County, said the project had fewer problems than the county anticipated, so it is likely to finish under budget.

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