Some roadwork expected to conclude this month delayed until early December, city says
Relief from the seemingly ubiquitous road construction throughout Waukesha this year will be delayed at least a little while longer as work in some areas of the city continues past previously established deadlines.
In fact, it's possible that the snow may fly before they are complete.
Two city-run projects, one along Highway 18/Moreland Boulevard, and the other on a portion of Delafield Street, north of downtown, have and will stretch past their initially scheduled completion dates by several weeks, according to city staff. The common council approved the extension in both cases.
The Moreland project, which extends from East St. Paul Avenue and East North Street to Manhattan Drive and includes the White Rock intersection near Frame Park, will not be substantially complete until Nov. 18, city engineering staff said. The final completion date for all the work on that project is now Dec. 9.
That is about six weeks later than expected.
The original completion date for that project, according to a construction contract, was Oct. 28.
Work on Delafield Street, between Bidwell and Lemira avenues – an extension of the original Delafield and Summit Avenue project – is also continuing past a previously set deadline of Sept. 30. That project is now scheduled to be complete by Nov. 30.
Both projects are part of what Waukesha officials have called the busiest year for road construction possibly in the city's history. Earlier this year, the city announced six major road construction projects that cut into virtually every major roadway.
'A complicated project'
The Moreland work involves the reconstruction of the roadway, replacement and rehabilitation of utilities (including some spot water main replacement), a new storm sewer, sanitary sewer lateral replacement and traffic signal replacement at East Moreland Bloulevard, White Rock and Eales Avenue, according to information provided by the city.
The deadline for the project had to be extended due to delays in securing the required permits from Canadian National Railway and the Army Corps of Engineers and the addition of more than 1,000 feet of water main relay and associated lateral reconnections.
The common council approved a contract extension for that project in September.
"East Moreland Boulevard is a complicated project with a lot of underground work," said City Project Engineer Margaret Liedtke. "The progress of this work is hard to fully grasp, as people drive through the site, given that there are no visible signs of improvements so therefore people do not think that work is proceeding."
But that's not the case, Liedtke said.
"Many of the complaints (we) received often are that, 'You keep digging up the same areas,' which in the case of the water main is often true, but it is often related to testing to obtain safe drinking water," she continued.
Liedtke added that cars driving through the construction site "continues to be a problem," but acknowledged that the additional construction on East Moreland Boulevard from Interstate 94 to Manhattan Drive, in conjunction with the city's work, has caused "even more confusion" among motorists.
Liedtke also stressed that the businesses along White Rock, including the Citgo gas station there, remain open throughout the project.
Maintaining access to those businesses while continuing construction is a "balancing act," she said, but "patience is key."
Construction at Delafield Street and Summit Avenue was finished, and the intersection was reopened by the project's original deadline, said City Engineer Alex Damien, but work continues due to an extension of that project, along Delafield.
The work on the original project – from about 300 feet east of North Moreland Boulevard to Delafield and along Delafield from Spring Street to Madison and North streets – entailed reconstruction of the roadway and the replacement or rehabilitation of utilities there.
According to the city, the work on Summit is complete.
Construction on Delafield, between Prospect and Lemira avenues, was not a part of the original project but was later added to it, Damien said. The common council approved the addition in August.
That section of Delafield was in "great need of reconstruction," he added, and work will continue there for another month.
The city-run construction on Moreland is one part of a massive project that spans from I-94 to White Rock. The state Department of Transportation is responsible for the portion of construction – a multi-million dollar project – that runs from Manhattan to the highway.
According to the DOT, there is no concrete deadline for the completion of that work, which consists of pavement resurfacing, intersection improvements and traffic signal upgrades.
"Mother Nature has a lot of control (over the time line for that project)," said Mike Pyritz, the DOT's regional communication manager. But, he added, the project seems to be on schedule to conclude by early November.
Pyritz declined to give a more specific date. He said however that the DOT would notify motorists and residents of the project's completion about a week in advance.