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DOT, Ellsworth look ahead to main street upgrade

Transportation, local creamery and village officials, along with others, viewed a photo map Tuesday of the Main Street (Hwy. 10-63) corridor through Ellsworth’s east end and midway district, showing planned improvements. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials went back-and-forth Tuesday with village and local creamery officials about some aspects of planned improvements to Main Street (Hwy. 10-63) in Ellsworth, mostly agreeing about the project.

The stretch presently envisioned for an upgrade in 2016 runs from Beulah Street on the west to the east Hwys. 10 and 63 split, plus a revamp of the Main and Piety streets intersection, according to Stephanie Christiansen of MCS (a firm hired by the DOT to guide the project). That intersection work was one of the first items questioned by the locals.

The DOT’s proposal shows the installation of a right turn lane for traffic heading north on Piety and turning east on Main, created by the addition of an island and acquisition of property on the southeast corner. But Village Public Works Director Greg Engeset said he thought there was going to be a dedicated turn lane on Main for its eastbound traffic turning south on Piety.

Christiansen answered Engeset with a question: “Is traffic backing up to the west on Main now?” He responded “no.” And although Wendy Maves of the DOT said there were no plans for “bumping out” for a turn lane on Main when the center lane was added in the vicinity of the McDonald’s Restaurant, Christiansen eventually admitted “circling back” was possible on certain parts of the plan.

Maves also confirmed a retaining wall behind the new turn lane on Piety won’t be required and sloping back the ground should be sufficient. Meantime, curb ramps on the north side of the intersection are expected to be brought up to current standards.

Engeset wondered about responsibility for storm sewer for the turn lane, considering Maves said the state has jurisdiction for the lane. Christiansen replied such utilities are under village auspices. Maves had previously clarified the village wants parking lanes redone with the project, despite the DOT only accepting responsibility for the center 24 feet—the rest being 100 percent the village’s. Engeset later said the village wants a full two-and-a-half-inch overlay on the parking lanes.

For more please read the August 27 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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