HUDSON — The city is looking to address issues it sees with the 2021 Wisconsin 35 Highway street project, which spans Second Street from Front Street to North End Road in North Hudson.
The road is designated as a connecting highway, meaning it is a state street first and foremost and the city has a say on what happens with it, City Engineer Dean Chamberlain explained.
Staff was not looking for any action by the council Monday, but City Administrator Aaron Reeves said they need directions about what the council supports to go back and talk with Wisconsin Department of Transportation. There was a public involvement meeting with WisDOT in February.
One area of concern is the proposed design for 35 between Division Street and North Street, which runs under the railroad overpass. That corridor is the only place a trail from Lakefront Park would be able to connect northward, Chamberlain said.
The current conditions have two 4.5 feet sidewalks and parking lanes in addition to the two traffic lanes. The proposal by WisDOT would bring the curb in 2 feet on each side, create a 2 foot buffer that is sloped down to the roadway and keep the sidewalk at 4.5 feet.
Chamberlain instead proposed creating a 10-foot shared path on the west side of the road for bicycles and pedestrians, a 4-foot buffer on each side and a 5-inch sidewalk on the east side.
Council member Randy Morrissette said that would be taking away parking.
The WisDOT proposal does not allow for parking either, Chamberlain said.
Another concern is the pedestrian ramp replacements in the project. The American with Disabilities Act requires all pedestrian ramps must be brought up to standards when improvements are done to streets. Some of the plans current designs were not adequate, Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain said the city can look into replacing all sidewalks in the project area, rather than just spot replacements for utilities.
The cost of that would be handled fully by the city. Within the project, WisDOT funds aspects that are for vehicle traveling, and the city is responsible for the rest. The city's current estimate is $1 million, Public Works Director Mike Mroz said.
The sidewalks are not new, Chamberlain said, and there are some that are tripping hazards and have reached their expiration date.
Mroz said the project can have an alternate bid to replace all the sidewalks to determine the price. A preliminary estimate for replacing all the sidewalks is $200,000.
Lake Mallalieu bridge
The city does not have control of the Lake Mallalieu bridge, but the city can still ask WisDOT to consider changes to it. Currently the project includes putting a poxy overlay on the bridge.
The existing bridge conditions are two 24-foot travels lanes, a 5.5 foot sidewalk on the west side and an 8.5 foot sidewalk on the east. The city could consider two options to support bike and pedestrian traffic on the bridge.
The first option would be to widen the west sidewalk. This would be more costly, Chamberlain said.
The second option keeps the sidewalk at its current size, but adds a buffered bike lane to the street. The buffer could be painted stripes, flexible standing bollards or a concrete barrier. This would still leave 17-foot travel lanes, Chamberlain said.
Both options are something that could be done later without significant additional cost, Chamberlain said.
Retaining walls were Chamberlain’s final area of concern. The city currently does not have a good retaining wall policy, regarding who’s responsibility they are, when they should be repaired and more, Chamberlain said.
City staff and WisDOT feel now is the time to replace the retaining walls in the project area, as there are some concerns that construction equipment could cause them to fall, he said.
Mroz recommended sending the issue to public works to draft a policy.