Main St. project slowed

Railroad permitting process is taking time
Ozaukee Press Staff

Officials wish the light at the end of the tunnel in the second phase of the Main Street reconstruction project was a faster moving train.

Sewer work is underway on the project, but Ozaukee County is waiting on a permit from the Union Pacific Railroad to be able to install storm sewer under the railroad crossing.

The state Department of Transportation initially didn’t think a permit was required, but later was told differently since the crossing area is railroad right-of-way.

The county applied for a permit with the railroad and tried to expedite the approval process.

“It’s a waiting game. It’s hard to even get ahold of the railroad,” county construction superintendent Warren Guettel said at last week’s Main Street informational meeting.

Frontier Communications is waiting on a permit to put its lines under the tracks as well.

Once the permits are granted, the railroad has to schedule flagmen to be on hand while work is being done near the tracks, which could take more time. Flagmen tell conductors when to travel through construction areas to maintain workers’ safety.

Spectrum received a permit to extend lines after applying for one long ago.

After the sewer and lines are installed under the tracks, the poles can be taken down and curb and gutter work can start. The poles on both sides of the street are in the way since the road is being widened, said Construction Supt. Tom Amon of Vinton Construction, the project’s general contractor.

“The job is not stopped but staging is delayed,” Amon said. “We still have work we can do.”

The project completion date remains Sept. 28 for now.

“We’ll see how serious (the permit delay) gets,” Amon said.

Director of Public Works Dan Birenbaum said some good news came out of a construction meeting last Friday. Crews can do work up to the tracks while the county awaits its permit approval.

Railroad construction crews already installed the new crossing with signs and gates scheduled to arrive in July. The road was only closed for one day, Birenbaum said.

While the road is open to residents and people doing business on Main Street, Amon asks others to “please use the detour.’

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

The project cost is $6.9 million. State and federal grants 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.

Overall borrowing costs are $125,000 less than estimated, mostly due to securing a lower interest rate than expected. The true rate is 3.2562% on the 20-year loan.

The next public information meeting on the project is slated for 1 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at Village Hall.



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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.

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