Hiring of firm to redesign reconstruction puts long-delayed collaborative project back on schedule
It’s taken several years, but the Village and Town of Grafton are poised to finalize a collaborative effort to reconstruct Falls Road.
The Village Board on Monday agreed to hire an engineering firm to redesign upgrades that include widening the road from 22 to 30 feet, laying sanitary sewer and water mains, installing a bike lane, adding sidewalk to the south side of the road and repaving.
The improvements, which will be done on a 4,000-foot section of the road between Port Washington Road and Blackhawk Drive, will be designed by Gremmer and Associates of Fond du Lac.
The firm will be paid $29,905 to redesign design plans it prepared for the village in 2010.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said upgrading Falls Road, which is bordered by residential and vacant land in the town and village, has been on hold the past four years.
Although the village originally planned a $1.9 million urbanization project that called for $1.6 million in road work and $314,000 for utility work, the project was delayed after the town said it had not budgeted money for its share of the cost.
The road, which is heavily traveled, will receive upgrades to serve the Falls Crossing and Blue Stem subdivisions, Hofland said. In addition to utility work for future development, residents need sidewalks for pedestrian access to the village, he added.
In 2012, the village applied unsuccessfully for funds from the state’s Surface Transportation Program to defray the project cost, prompting local officials to explore alternatives.
The town included $218,000 in its 2014 budget to repave Falls Road without other upgrades but agreed to delay that work.
Hofland said plans now call for the Joint Town/Village Ad-Hoc Committee to meet in the next month to finalize specifications for the revamped project. That directive will allow Gremmer and Associates to proceed with redesign work, he added.
“Village and town officials have been meeting to identify each of their respective governments’ needs for Falls Road,” Hofland said.
Village Engineer Dave Murphy estimated the cost of the road improvements at $714,000, with the village share at $326,725, the town share at $218,540 and the remaining $168,725 covered by Falls Crossing subdivision developer’s fees.
An additional $800,000 would be required for utility work, with that cost paid by the village and special assessments. Owners of abutting land in the town would not pay for improvements unless their property is annexed to the village.
Pending approval of redesign plans, Hofland said, plans call for reconstruction work to begin in spring 2015.
Town Chairman Lester Bartel said the town was prepared to resurface the road “a little beyond town standards” but agreed to revisit the project at the village's request.
“In the original project, the town’s share would have been over $600,000. That was too much,” Bartel said.
Reconstructing Falls Road is a priority, but “we have four or five other roads in the town that are in much worse shape,” Bartel said.
In a report to the village’s Public Works Board, Murphy said the road will be widened to have two 11-foot lanes and 3-foot asphalt shoulders with a lane for bicycle traffic.
Bartel said the town wants the speed limit lowered from 35 to 25 mph once the project is completed.
“It is a heavily traveled road, a gateway road, and will have people driving a lot faster on it,” Bartel said. “It just makes sense to slow down the traffic.”