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Letter to the Editor | Hwy W Extension – What about vehicle/truck/train safety and traffic congestion in Allenton? | By E. LaFave

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May 12, 2021 – Washington Co., WI – One of the many considerations regarding the Hwy W Extension project that seems to be consistently “glossed over” by the County is the impact on traffic congestion and safety in Allenton.  In the presentation at the Public Information Meeting at the Town of Addison, the County displayed a slide entitled “Misconception of Allenton Traffic.”

Misconception??  Just check with the owners of businesses located on Hwy W in Allenton – they will freely explain the traffic congestion that occurs at least once every hour during the business day.

According to the State of Wisconsin Office of the Commission of Railroads (OCR), at least 16 Canadian National/Wis Central trains pass through Allenton each day between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The OCR considers this to be a “high level” of train traffic and acknowledges that 16 may be an outdated number, that the trains could be going as fast as 50 mph, and that these trains are likely quite long based on the route information.

If there’s already hourly congestion in Allenton, what will happen to congestion when even more trucks and other vehicles use the CTH W route because of the “efficiency of the Hwy W extension?”

The County assures us there will not be such an increase and used a slide stating “I do not see the increase in truck traffic from trucks exiting (I 41) at STH 33 to get to Hartford!”  Really? That seems unlikely.

What about the safety issue for vehicles and trains in Allenton?

The intersection of CTH W with STH 33 lies approximately 100 feet west of the train tracks.  If multiple trucks or other vehicles are traveling west on STH 33 and waiting for eastbound traffic to clear in order to safely turn onto CTH W, a dangerous situation will exist if a train is approaching.

Increased usage by vehicles traveling from Allenton/West Bend to Hartford or from southbound I41 because of the “efficient” new CTH W extension will create new traffic safety hazards with the train tracks and the STH W/33 intersection.

The County stresses the Hwy W extension project is about safety – has the County pursued answers to these potentially increased safety hazards in Allenton or counsel regarding possible solutions?   The Office of the Commission of Railroads in Wisconsin would say “no” – the last noted “docket” item in OCR records regarding the railroad crossing at STH 33 in Allenton was in 2003.

The Office of the Commission of Railroads encourages counties/municipalities to seek advisory council from both the OCR and the railway owners regarding the impact of road projects on safety as well as possible remediation.

It appears this “homework” hasn’t been done in regard to the impact of the CTH W Extension project on train and vehicle safety as well as traffic congestion in Allenton… despite continued concerns expressed by taxpayers and business owners.

So now the County wants to move the CTH W Extension plan forth without two major studies –the agricultural impact study and work with the OCR regarding the impact on traffic/train safety in Allenton.

Please contact Washington County Supervisors today and ask them to Vote No to the CTH W Extension Resolution at this Wednesday’s County Board meeting.

Respectfully,

E. LaFave

Hartford, WI

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