Connector route options presented at meeting
Money, land, truck traffic, annexation agreements, and threats of dead-end streets all enlivened a meeting Monday about potential routes from County G to Interstate 90/39.
About 100 people gathered at Aldrich Middle School to hear a presentation from the engineering firm of Ayres Associates and Rock County Highway Commissioner Ben Coopman regarding three alternatives for the route.
A diverse group of government entities have a stake in the multi-million-dollar project, and Monday's audience included state Sen. Tim Cullen, town of Beloit Police Chief Tim Kopp, Beloit City Manager Larry Arft, town of Beloit board member Dick LaMott, town of Turtle board member Tim Kopp and longtime Rock County Supervisor Eva Arnold.
The county board will pick its preferred alternative in September, and town boards already have made their feelings known.
If the state approves the board's choice, it will fund 70 percent of the project. The county would then contribute 20 percent and the city of Beloit will contribute 10 percent. If the state doesn't approve the board's choice, the county would have to fund the project on its own.
-- Extending Inman Parkway between Prairie Avenue/County G and Shopiere Road.
This plan, which would cost $4.7 million, would go through residential areas and past schools and would mean the loss of 13.8 acres of farmland. It also would be the shortest route at 1.4 miles.
This option is favored by the city of Beloit because it is the most direct and meets many state requirements.
Town of Turtle board members worry this is attempt to annex town land. Arft said the city has an agreement with the town not to annex the land, and that agreement lasts until 2021.
Town of Beloit board members oppose the route because of traffic it would bring past schools and into residential areas. One board member said the town would make the west side of Inman Parkway a dead-end street, defeating part of the connector's purpose.
-- Building a connector from Shopiere Road to Creek Road, routing traffic north to Philhower Road and then over to Prairie Avenue/County G.
The town of Beloit favors this option, but it is the most expensive plan at $6.2 million. It also would require improvements to existing roads and the loss of 11 acres of farmland.
While this alternative would take care of heavy trucks from the north, it would not help with commuters and users from the industrial parks on the north side, Coopman said.
-- Improving existing roads.
This plan would take motorists from County S/Shopiere Road to Cranston Road and on to Prairie Avenue/County G. Although no new roads would be built, improvements to existing roads would cost $4.4 million.
County Supervisor Al Sweeney said the state already has sent the county a letter saying this route does not serve its stated purpose. While that wasn't a definite "no," the state did send a message that the route probably would not be funded.