TOWN OF MENASHA - Highway 10/441 was put on the fast track for reconstruction in 2010 by the Wisconsin Transportation Projects Commission. Roughly 60,000 cars a day use the five mile stretch of road targeted for reconstruction from west of Highway 41 to Oneida Street. But in its budget proposal the DOT wants to put it on hold for at least the next two years.
"Those projects would fall under the major highway funding category of spending and that's the program area that we are looking at some potential reductions," said DOT spokesperson Peg Schmitt.
Law enforcement officials say they are frustrated by the potential delay because they say the stretch of highway can be dangerous to drivers in the best of weather conditions.
"Just the way that it was designed with the curves and the amount of vehicles that seem to be doubling every year, it makes it very difficult for our officers to get out there and take care of anything," said Jason Weber with the Town of Menasha Police Department.
Town of Menasha officials say the 441 corridor is vital for economic development and businesses are waiting for the highway project to get started.
"We will continue to do all the things we can do with our own infrastructure, this is something that we see is going to be a tremendous opportunity for the future, but we'll simply have to do some additional explanations about why it is an advantage to be here," said Town of Menasha community development director George Dearborn.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin by 2016 at a cost of roughly $415 million. A delay will not only push back the start of construction, but could add up to another $50 million to the cost.
"I'm going to do my best to see that this delay doesn't happen, the further along we wait to do the project, it isn't going to get any cheaper," said State Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah.
The legislature will have the final say when it votes on the 2013-15 budget sometime next year.
The Highway 441 project isn't the only one the DOT wants to put on hold. It is also recommending a two year delay on a major reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee as well.
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