Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:06
It’s official — the Highway 33 reconstruction project between Port Washington and Saukville should begin this spring.
The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday signed a revised agreement with the state for the work.
“We’re less than one month away from the bid opening for the long-awaited Highway 33 project,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven told aldermen.
The city’s original contract with the state was signed in 2000, and a number of changes have occurred since then, he noted.
For example, the cost of obtaining real estate has increased tenfold. In 2000, it was estimated that the cost of obtaining real estate along the two-mile stretch would be $110,000, with the city’s share set at $12,500
Vanden Noven said.
“That was optimistic even in 2000,” he said.
Now, the entire cost of real estate acquisition is estimated at $2.5 million, with the city’s share expected to be $172,000, Vanden Noven said.
The city’s share of the entire project is $1.8 million, which includes a $142,000 credit that will be applied to the new streetlights, as well as a $605,000 landscaping credit because the city will be planting the trees along
the street, he said.
A significant portion of that money should be escrowed for median maintenance, Vanden Noven said, noting the trees will require a fair amount of care in the first few years and the city should hire a contractor to do this work.
One major change in the contract is the fact that it no longer covers work done for the Village of Saukville, Vanden Noven said. Instead, the village will have a separate agreement with the state.
That agreement was approved by the Village Board Tuesday.
The original contract required the city to pay the full cost of the highway work and obtain reimbursement from Saukville, he said. Saukville officials asked the state to separate the contracts, Vanden Noven said.
Last week, the Board of Public Works approved special assessing adjoining property owners for curb, gutter and sidewalk work along Highway 33. Preliminary figures show the assessments will range from $150 to
more than $100,000.
The largest assessment, however, is for city-owned property. Many of the highest assessments are for properties in the Town of Port Washington. These charges will be deferred until the land is annexed into the city.
A preliminary resolution on the assessments is expected to be considered by the Common Council in April or May, after bids for the work are opened and the actual costs are known.
A public hearing on the assessments will be held after that.
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:16
Port officials look at paring sidewalk installation to help offset rising cost of improvements on city road
The success of a proposal to rebuild Lake Street to alleviate flooding in the area and beautify the area around Veterans Memorial Park in Port Washington this spring may depend on the Highway 33 reconstruction project.
That’s because the Lake Street proposal has increased significantly in price as the scope of the project has changed since it was initially considered last year, the Board of Public Works was told Tuesday.
Because the city doesn’t have other funds available, cost savings expected to be realized on the long-awaited Highway33 reconstruction might be the best way to finance the Lake Street project, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.
When the Lake Street project was conceived, the intent was to lower the road, install additional catch basins and provide an overflow spillway through the park, he said. The city received a $206,000 Community Development Block Grant to cover 60% of that cost.
But officials have since determined that the main storm sewer line must be replaced, Vanden Noven said. Plans have also been made to rebuild the public parking lot north of the American Legion hallto improve safety and aesthetics, and to add sidewalk to connect with existing walkways in the area.
The low bid for the project came in at $327,000, Vanden Noven said, leaving the city to come up with roughly $150,000 for the project.
In addition, We Energies has estimated the cost of burying the overhead wires in the area at $60,000 to $100,000, he said.
The Highway 33 project may be the most likely place to come up with the needed funds, Vanden Noven said.
That’s because the state has said bids for highway work have been coming in about 10% under budget, he said. If that occurs, about $100,000 might be available to help pay for the Lake Street project.
Bids for the Highway 33 project will be opened in April.
In addition, the city could eliminate some paths and sidewalks planned on Highway LL north of Highway 33 and on the west side of the road south of Highway 33, Vanden Noven said. That would cover much of the remaining shortfall.
The path on the east side of Highway LL south of Highway 33 should remain, officials said, because it will connect with sidewalks already in the area.
Ald. Jim Vollmar, a member of the Board of Public Works, said the city needs to decide whether the intent of the Lake Street work is to alleviate flooding or to beautify the area.
“It’s the aesthetics of this project that add to the cost,” he said. “I’m kind of torn. I would like the city to be more beautiful, but it’s a lot of money.”
Ald. Mike Ehrlich, another board member, said it’s important to make the Veterans Park area aesthetically pleasing because of its prominence.
“It’s a high visibility area,” he said.
He proposed that the city eliminate the Highway LL walkways, saving an estimated $130,000, noting that these paths, which can be added in the future, don’t connect to other sidewalks.
The city should delay making a decision on burying the overhead wires until it has a better cost estimate, Ehrlich added.
But Vollmar said if the city wants to beautify the area, the wires must be buried.
“Personally, I think if we’re going to make it look beautiful, let’s go all the way,” he said.
Ald. Paul Neumyer, a member of the board, suggested the board consider postponing the Lake Street project until fall, when the Highway 33 project will be almost completed and the costs known. Then the city will know how much money can be diverted to Lake Street, he said.
T.P. Concrete, the low bidder on the project, may not be willing to hold its price that long, Vanden Noven said.
The board postponed action on the bid and delayed making a decision on burying the wires. Instead, it directed Vanden Noven and City Administrator Mark Grams to see if T.P. Concrete would honor its price if the project is delayed and when We Energies could give a better cost
estimate for burying the wires.
The board will hold a special meeting Tuesday, March 15, to hear the results.
The board also recommended on Tuesday that the city approve a revised contract with the state for the Highway 33 project. The initial contract for the work was approved in 2009, but since then the scope and cost of the project have changed, Vanden Noven said.
The city’s share of the project is estimated at $1.8 million, he said.
The DOT has indicated the contract must be approved by the Common Council by March 15 for the project to move forward this year, Vanden Noven said.
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:06
State transportation secretary tells local officials that long-awaited road widening is still set to start this year
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget won’t delay the long-awaited reconstruction of Highway 33 from Port Washington to Saukville, officials said Tuesday.
“The Highway 33 project is still scheduled to be let this spring,” Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said Tuesday. “That project schedule is not affected by the state budget.”
The work, which will extend from Tower Drive in Port Washington west to an area east of Highway W in Saukville, involves replacing the two-lane road with a four-lane divided highway, complete with turn lanes, curb and gutter, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and new lighting.
The Highway LL overpass would be removed and replaced by a roundabout, one of three traffic circles included in the project. The others are in Saukville, at Northwoods Road and Market Street.
City Administrator Mark Grams said he recently checked on the project, saying he “went straight to the top” and talked to Gottlieb, a former Port Washington mayor and 60th District Assembly representative.
“He said there won’t be a problem, that everything’s still good to go,” Grams said.
On Tuesday, the Common Council approved a utility relocation agreement needed to bury the power lines along the highway.
Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said bids for the reconstruction project will be opened by the DOT on April 12.
“I would guess we’ll have at least a half-dozen bidders,” he said.
Funding for the project has already been approved, he noted, and the DOT is working to expedite the project because of an aggressive timeline. Work on the road is expected to begin in mid-May, when the Highway LL overpass is removed, Vanden
Noven said, and be completed by the end of the year, with the exception of landscaping.
“I’m sure it’s going to take the entire construction period,” he said. “It’s a lot of work to do in a short period of time,”
If the contractor does not meet the project timeline, he will be assessed liquidated damages.
Throughout the project, Highway LL will be closed between Willow Road and Aster Street, Vanden Noven said.
Temporary lanes will then be constructed so traffic can continue to flow between Port and Saukville throughout the year, he said.
The only substantial detour on Highway 33 will occur between Tower and Portview drives in Port Washington in the fall, Vanden Noven said. There isn’t enough room to create temporary lanes on this stretch of road, he said, necessitating the detour.
“I think the disruption should be minimized,” he said. “Like any construction project, there’s going to be dust, noise and some confusion.”
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:36
Port officials begin studying alternative uses for property Brookfield developer earmarked for massive subdivision
Port Washington officials last week began to take a look at how the city’s south side will develop, given the fact that Brookfield developer Vincent Kuttemperoor is likely to lose control of much of the property he once proposed turning into a massive, high-end subdivision.
The Plan Commission directed city staff members to create an inventory of Kuttemperoor’s holdings so they have a better idea which properties they are studying.
“Once we get an inventory ... then we’ll be ready to look at land uses,” Mayor Scott Huebner said.
The city also needs to find out which banks hold mortgages on the land, officials said, noting that one financial institution has already initiated foreclosure proceedings on a parcel of Kuttemperoor’s land.
Ald. Dan Becker, a member of the commission, said the panel should proceed carefully, noting the decisions made will affect the community for decades.
“There are so many things you can do,” he said.
Commission member Earl Kelley said the property east of Highway C — much of which was included in Kuttemperoor’s initial annexation a decade ago — would be “beautiful residential land.”
Others noted that parcels west of Highway C near the city’s current industrial area could be used to expand that use, perhaps creating a business park.
Land along Highway 32 could also create a commercial corridor, members noted.
But, Kelley warned, the city has always set a key goal of not allowing any development on Kuttemperoor’s land to compete with businesses downtown.
“It’s almost like making a mini-land use plan for the area,” commission member Bud Sova said. “We have to be careful. We don’t want to block any future streets or infrastructure.”
Kuttemperoor owns close to 800 acres on the city’s south side and the Town of Grafton, including about 500 acres within the city limits, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
The land, which stretches from the Lake Michigan shoreline to Highway 32, was amassed by Kuttemperoor beginning in 1988 and continuing through the 1990s.
However, when the housing market crashed, Kuttemperoor, like many developers, found himself struggling, Tetzlaff said. The developer has placed more than 300 acres on the market with an asking price of $25 million, and individuals and developers
are looking at smaller parcels — some as small as two acres.
People are beginning to ask what they can do with the property, Tetzlaff said.
“In the not-too-distant future, we have to have an idea what to tell them,” he said. “The question is where do we go from here?”
When Kuttemperoor annexed the land, a study of the property and its proposed uses was conducted for the city. Huebner said the city needs to examine that study and see if its findings are still valid.
City Administrator Mark Grams said Kuttemperoor added to his holdings after the study was completed.
The study, he added, “was the worst case scenario to determine how many houses could you pack in there.”
It looked at Kuttemperoor’s preliminary plan, which called for building as many as 574 single-family homes and 222 multifamily units, primarily duplex condominiums, as well as 22 acres of commercial shops and a 450-unit resort hotel. There was to
be land for a school and public access to the lakefront.
Kuttemperoor estimated the development would ultimately be worth $480 million.
He spent years working on concepts for the property, developing plans for a high-end golf course surrounded by residential development and considering ways to stabilize the eroding bluff.
Jason Wittek, 469 W. Grand Ave., asked the commission to consider that the development provide for a mix of income levels and housing uses, with coherent mixed-use neighborhoods that allow people to walk and bike to destinations.
“Wealth of a city isn’t just the value of its homes, but the utility of its neighborhoods,” he said. “I am in no way against new growth. But I am against more of the same growth we’ve seen on the outskirts of Port Washington in the last few years.”