Waukesha road construction extends into fall

Scott Ash
Road construction continues on South East Avenue, just south of West College Avenue near Carroll University, on Monday. The project took longer to replace infrastructure from the 1920s.
Published on: 10/8/2013

It certainly wasn't a dull summer for City Project Engineer Margaret Liedtke, her staff and the crews repairing roads in Waukesha.

While most of the projects are nearly complete, a majority will extend well into the fall.

"It's been a busy summer, which is good," Liedtke said. "We've gotten a lot of work done, which I know is frustrating for residents because we're tearing up roads, but in the long run this will be better for everyone."

In May, Liedtke said the biggest project in the city was going to be at South East Avenue from Estberg Avenue to College Avenue, a 3,000-foot stretch.

It included reconstruction of the street, upgrading traffic signals, installing street lights and water main and storm sewer installation.

The reconstruction to upgrade South East Avenue included updated design and safety standards, improving drainage, reconstructing pedestrian ramps to Americans with Disabilities Act standards and replacing deteriorated pavement.

Liedtke anticipated the project would be done in early November, but last week said, "we might be pushing more into mid-November."

Project was slowed

Liedtke said the project got off to a slow start when crews were installing the water main, one of the first steps in the more than five-month process.

"There was a lot of utility work and there was conflict with getting the water main and storm sewer installed," Liedtke said. "It was longer than we had hoped."

Liedtke added finishing the asphalt and the concrete curb and drive-way approach is on schedule.

"If things go well, maybe we can catch up," Liedtke said.

College Avenue and North East Avenue are open to local traffic, but otherwise drivers are asked to avoid the street, Liedtke said.

A complete overhaul was needed because much of the infrastructure dates back to the 1920s, Liedtke said.

Buena Vista project

Another project that has taken slightly longer than anticipated is near City Hall. That area includes Buena Vista Avenue from 100 feet northeast of Delafield Street to Pewaukee Road, northwest Barstow Street from Buena Vista Avenue to East North Street, and Riverview Avenue from Buena Vista Avenue to 400 feet northwest of Buena Vista Avenue.

The project included reconstruction of the street, water main installation and sanitary sewer rehabilitation. It was anticipated to be finished in mid-September, but the completion likely isn't until the end of October.

"This was a very long project in regard to distance," Liedtke said.

She said asphalt is scheduled for this week and work has to be done on driveway approaches and curbs.

"The water main was an issue as it was experiencing breaks before the concrete paving," Liedtke said. "So that got started later and put us behind."

With the road being closed during construction in this residential area, it has impacted many home owners.

"They've been very patient," said Liedtke, who added during some of the big installments it forced homeowners to park at nearby county buildings and City Hall.

Like the South East Avenue project, Liedtke said this road was in its original state and needed a complete overhaul.

North Grand Avenue

Meanwhile, the project at North Grand Avenue from the railroad tracks at Williams Street to Wisconsin Avenue is "moving very quickly," Liedtke said. Like the others, the project included reconstruction of the street, installing street lights, water main and sanitary sewer rehabilitation.

The completion of this road wasn't too far off its expected date of the end of September. Liedtke said only pavement markings need to be added.

It's not out of the ordinary for road projects that include replacing water mains to go longer than anticipated, Liedtke said.

"It's a very time-consuming project," said Liedtke, who added it includes clearing out all of the bacteria in the system.

Another big water and sewer project the city is now finalizing is at Scott Avenue, which will be finished by the end of the month.

"Most of it now is finishing the pavement replacement," Liedtke said.

Arcadian Avenue

Concrete replacement at Arcadian Avenue from Eugene Court to Les Paul Parkway that began in August will be done at the end of October, Liedtke said.

Crews are done with one side and will be switching traffic to the other side for completion.

The citywide resurfacing program is complete. Liedtke said the areas the city focused on this year included a couple older subdivisions. One in the Merrill Hills area off Madison Street and the roadway off Chapman Drive, west of Sunset.

"We went in and got curbs fixed and (curb) ramps put on the pavement," Liedtke said.

Looking ahead

Typically, Liedtke said road projects should be finished by mid-November when deer hunting season begins. But she added it's all weather-dependent.

"We can go into November," she said. "But if we get cold weather it could impact the schedule."

Liedtke and her staff are already looking ahead to 2014.

"We have a fairly good list of that now," she said. "We'll try to fine tune that, but it's all budget-driven so we'll keep our eyes on that on whether we can increase or decrease what we can do."