Janesville55.3°

Inman it is: Board OKs extension

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 12, 2012

— A connector route between County G and Interstate 90/39 will end up right where the Department of Transportation wanted it all along.

At Thursday's meeting of the Rock County Board of Supervisors, the board voted 24-2, with three supervisors absent, to approve an extension from County G/Prairie Avenue to I-90/39. Supervisors Wayne Gustina and Hank Brill voted against the extension.

The route will run from Inman Parkway, cross a farm field, connect with County S and then connect with the Interstate.

Thursday's vote came two weeks after the board tabled the decision until Feb. 28, effectively killing the project. Supporters said they wanted time to look at more options.

But Thursday night, Rock County Highway Commissioner Ben Coopman said that it was really too late to look at other options. The engineering studies and other planning would take too much time.

Along with a connector road to the Interstate, the $21.8-million project includes improvements to County G and to the intersection of County G and Townline Road.

The state agreed to pay for $14.7 million of the project, but only if a connector routeŚof its choiceŚwas included. The DOT wants a bypass route to ease traffic on the Interstate during the upcoming expansion and as an alternative route when accidents occur.

Community and business leaders returned to the board to express their support for the project.

Dan Cunningham, vice president of Forward Janesville, urged the board to vote in favor of the project, saying it would be less expensive than the other proposed options, the county's total share of the cost would be less, and it would give emergency providers better access to services.

"As our economy continues its tentative recovery, we simply cannot afford to leave this project on the drawing board," Cunningham said.

An improved County G and easier access to the Interstate would be good for businesses in the area and make it more attractive to others, he said.

City of Beloit and town of Turtle officials told the board that they had spent the last two weeks working out some of their differences regarding the project. Town of Turtle officials were concerned that the Inman Parkway extension would give the city an excuse to annex the land.

"It's not just about a connector road, it's not just about boundary lines, it's how we go forward together," Supervisor Roger Anclam said.

Several residents from the area spoke or submitted written protests against the project.

And although the board passed the resolution overwhelmingly, several supervisors expressed frustration with the process.

Supervisor Rich Bostwick said it was frustrating not to have a true choice between the options because not all the information was available.

Supervisor Dave Brown said that in the future, there should be some way to evaluate the agricultural effects of a project before it gets so far along.

Supervisor Terry Thomas echoed those sentiments.

"I'm going to vote for this, but it sort of feels like a gun to our heads," Thomas said. "It leaves us with bad taste in our month."



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