Road won’t remain closed for railroad

If getting permit from Union Pacific takes too long, Main Street will stay open during work under crossing
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press Staff

When it comes to the increasingly infamous railroad permit in the already famous Main Street reconstruction project in the Village of Belgium, the crossbar is down and the red lights are still flashing.

Ozaukee County is still awaiting approval from the Union Pacific Railroad to be able to extend storm sewers underneath the railroad crossing.

County construction superintendent Warren Guettel said the county has been back and forth with railroad engineers twice about questions with the permit. He said at last week’s informational meeting he hopes to get a response from the railroad within a week or two.

“There’s been communication, but it has its problems. Discussion is going back and forth,” Tom Amon, the construction superintendent with the project’s general contractor Vinton Construction, said.

Regardless, one decision has been made regarding the closing of the road during work under the railroad crossing.

“Everybody on the project feels that it wouldn’t be right to keep it closed if it’s just the railroad section, so we’ll just have to figure out a way to get it done while we have some traffic going through,” Amon said. “That would be the worst case. We won’t extend the closure unless something very unforeseen happens.”

Amon said he still thinks the second phase of the project will be completed by the target date of Sept. 28.

In the meantime, crews are continuing to work around the railroad.

Sidewalks were being poured on Tuesday on the east side of the tracks to Beech Street, village Director of Public Works Dan Birenbaum said.

Crews were also running conduit into the ground for streetlights.

Next week, Amon said, he expects streetlights to go up and landscaping to be finished on the east side of the railroad crossing.

Birenbaum said it is important for traffic to avoid the street due to the increased activity.

“They should use the detour. It’s pretty congested with the dump trucks,” he said, adding semitractor-trailers have been the biggest violators so far.

The detour route runs from Highway LL south to A, then to Highway 57 and back to Highway D.

The project has had an impact on the village’s business and entertainment options. Belgium Hardware and Beverage has gone out of business and the newly opened Old Town Hall Studio and Gallery won’t schedule an event until work is done in fall. Work in the second phase is being done in front of both buildings on Main Street.

The project cost is $6.9 million. State and federal grants will pay 80% of the cost with the county and village splitting the remaining 20%. The Village Board in April unanimously approved borrowing $4.3 million for its portion of the Main Street reconstruction project. It is paying more than 10% because of upgraded street lights and burying power lines.

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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