Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 19:07
Committee calls for burying overhead lines as part of Main St. work
A Village of Belgium committee has recommended its utility lines be buried on Main Street ahead of the reconstruction project slated for 2017.
At the Aug. 14 Public Works Committee meeting, members said the advantages of burying the lines outweigh the potential high cost of the project.
Committee Chairman Clem Gottsacker said safety, reliability and aesthetics are the main reasons to bury the lines.
“We need to do this before they start digging the road,” Gottsacker said. “We need to find out where some of the gas lines are and it would be nice not to have a bunch of poles out on Main Street.”
The village’s engineer for the Main Street project, Gremmer & Associates, is expected to have a cost estimate for burying the lines by November, Village President Rich Howells said.
Gremmer will forward its results to three utilities in the village: We Energies, Time Warner Cable and Frontier, an Internet provider.
Howells said the utilities should complete assessments in five to six months, so a cost likely won’t be known until the middle of 2015.
Village officials will have the option to decline burying the utilities if the cost is too high, Gottsacker said.
“If this came back to be something unaffordable, we wanted to make sure we could back out,” Gottsacker said.
Work on the lines likely won’t start until later next year, Howells said.
A portion of the $4.2 million the village and Ozaukee County received from a state Surface Transportation Program Rural grant will cover some of the cost to bury the utilities.
Howells said burying the utility lines is important to the village’s future.
“Let’s say for example a company on Main Street has a fire and we have to call in a ladder truck, but they couldn’t put it up because of the wires,” Howells said. “This will also tie in with the tourism plans we have for the future of the village.”
The Village Board will consider the committee’s recommendation at its September meeting.
The committee also recommended waiting to pave Lakeview Drive on the east end of the village until the spring because it will save about $10,000, Gottsacker said.
“Our Department of Public Works said the asphalt prices will go down next year, so we’ll save some money that way,” Gottsacker said.