Washington Co. Executive Committee passes resolution on Alternate 11 for proposed STH 60 Reliever Route

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Feb. 8, 2017 – Hartford, WI – The Washington County Public Works and Executive Committed held a joint meeting Tuesday to make a decision on the next step regarding the STH 60 Reliever Route. 

The current route in the Regional Transportation Plan travels east/west on Arthur Road in the Town of Hartford. The resolution presented at the meeting was to recommend to the County Board changing this route to the recently studied Alternate 11 route. 

Alternate 11 travels from Independence Avenue in the Hartford Industrial Park via new construction to County Road U near its intersection with Arthur Road.  The route continues north along the current County Hwy U alignment until it travels a short distance via new construction to connect up with Town of Addison’s Turtle Road. 

Continuing east, Turtle Road transitions to County Trunk K as it continues through St. Lawrence to I-41. 

Washington County Attorney Brad Stern addressed the group regarding a resolution passed in the Sept. 28, 2016 Public Works meeting to pass a resolution, without recommendation, to amend the Regional Transportation Plan with Alternate 11 replacing Arthur Road. 

Stern indicated the resolution currently on the agenda is technically different due to line 28 in the resolution regarding mileage. 

He indicated that for housekeeping, they will want to take action on the 9/28 resolution.  He also indicated that will not hold up the current meeting and resolution. 

Regarding the resolution being reviewed in the current meeting, County Administrator Joshua Schoemann said, “We are not asking if we should build the road or fund it.  It is simply should the 2050 plan be amended or not.”

Schoemann indicated if Washington County is going to qualify for any federal funds for the route, it needs to be on the plan.

A member of the Executive Committee as well as a few on the Public Works committee spoke against making the amendment including Supervisor Mike Miller.

“I tried to get this stopped in September and we were told, let’s get more information,” said Miller.  “I agreed to send it with no recommendation.  I would have stopped this six months ago.” 

Supervisor Jeffrey Schleif countered, “I too believe we don’t need a reliever route, but somewhere down the road, we probably will.” 

Supervisor John Bulawa said, “It is not about building it or not building it, it is planning for the future.” 

Miller asked whether the resolution needed approval by both committees in order to be presented before the board. 

A difference arose when Stern indicated it needed either committee’s approval while Chief Deputy County Clerk Linda Doro said it needed approval by the Public Works Committee. 

After a short break, the meeting reconvened and County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum announced it would take either committee to pass the resolution in order for it to go before the full board. 

The Public Works Committee voted down the resolution to amend the Regional Transportation Plan to include Alternate 11 instead of Arthur Road with Supervisors Miller, Daniel Goetz, and Michael Parsons voting no and Supervisors Bulawa and Schleif voting yes. 

The Executive Committee then voted on the issue and the resolution passed.  Supervisors Mike Bassill, Don Kriefall, Bulawa, and Gundrum voted yes, Supervisor Kristine Deiss voted no, while Supervisors Mark McCune and Timothy Michalak were absent from the meeting.

Elaine Gehring, Secretary of the No Reliever Route Committee expressed frustration with the final vote. “What happened today disempowered every other committee to make decisions without of the danger of the Executive Committee overwriting their decision.” 

The Economic Impact Study on the STH 60 Reliever Route will be reviewed in an upcoming meeting, followed by a full county board vote on the Alternate 11 resolution passed at the meeting this week. 

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