By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Board of Public Works has signed off on work proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to address a heavily damaged stretch of North Central Avenue, running from Arnold Street to Harrison Street.
“The scope of work is not a total reconstruction like we’ve seen on other segments of Central Avenue,” Knoeck, told the board during its Feb. 5 meeting. “It’s removing of the existing asphalt, essentially, and putting new asphalt surface on it.”
“At Arnold on the north, on the north leg, they are planning to put in a raised median there, which defines that left-turn lane a little more so than what is there now – there is just the tear drop at the island right now – and this would be a raised median for essentially half a block. In order for them to fit that in then, they are widening the curb on the west side and on the east side as well, and around the radius replacing some curb ramps and a bit of sidewalk.
“At the Blodgett Street intersection, there are no plans for any improvements there. The curb ramps have recently been upgraded, so they had no new work shown there.
“As we head from Cleveland Street to Doege, you start to see the work at the Doege Street intersection, where they are adding a center left-turn lane and some raised median midway through that block. They are putting in left-turn lanes at Doege…then widening out in each of the four quadrants and that triggers sidewalk and curb ramp work. Then, all new traffic signals at the Doege Street intersection. So, that (intersection) will see the most change, most improvement.
“From an operational standpoint the left-turn lanes are meant to hopefully decrease the number of traffic crashes that we’ve seen at that intersection.”
In an earlier interview, City Engineer Tom Turchi stated that the Doege intersection was the most hazardous intersection in the city.
“In … 2016 that intersection had 12 accidents, and there were 36 accidents in that five-year (period) prior,” Turchi said.
The crash statistics result in a 1.32 per million vehicles crash rate for an intersection that receives some 15,000 vehicles per day. The state average is 1.0 per million.
Turchi said that the majority of the crashes at Doege and Central are rear-end collisions on left-hand turns. By adding segregated left turn lanes, the turning vehicles will be eliminated from the through traffic, which Turchi said would eliminate many rear-end crashes.
“Just by putting the protected left-turn lane in there, I am anticipating that we will see probably a 36 percent reduction in crashes – that is just an estimate,” he added.
In addition, the Cleveland intersection will see work on one corner, while curb ramps are addressed in the Edison, Franklin, and Grant intersections and Harrison undergoes a widening, raised median, and street light work.
Knoeck said that the only city funds used for the project are those used to work on parking lanes, otherwise the project is the responsibility of the state.
He added that one lane of traffic will be open in each direction during construction.
Bidding on project work will begin in May, with road work starting in mid-July, following Farm Technology Days which runs July 10-12. Work is scheduled to be completed in early November.