May 10, 2021 – Washington Co., WI – Dear Editor,
My name is Lisa Allen. I am concerned about 3 century farms that will be destroyed by the Hwy W Extension. These are sustainable farms, meeting society’s present food and textile demands, without compromising the needs of current or future generations.
Now, for the third time, (it was voted down – TWICE) the County wants to put a “Highway W Extension” through the farms, citing safety concerns at Highway175/ S and Highway 175/83 Even though, in the 22 months since Feb. 2019 to date, there were only two accidents at Hwy 175/Hwy S; three accidents at Hwy 175/Hwy 83 and none at Hwy 175/Hwy W.
Are these, as the County claims, some of the most dangerous intersections in all of Washington County?
I enthusiastically support improvements at all of these intersections! Improvements (estimated at $450,000) to Hwy S/83/175 intersections should be the first step. It should NOT be a $2,600,000 project, which will in addition, destroy 11.4 acres of active farmland. The “Extension” is estimated to increase travel time, by a mere 20 to 30 seconds, while causing additional traffic concerns in Allenton around the railroad tracks.
I recommend instead, that both Hwy S/175 and Highways 83/175 be fixed to improve “line of sight” and access. Suggestions from the public have ranged from: putting a roundabout in place; using four-way stop signs; or installing rumble strips. The County Highway commission has steadfastly refused to consider alternatives to the “Extension.”
County Executive, Josh Schoemann has consistently proclaimed a long standing, commitment to agricultural in Washington County. In his State of the County speech on April 22, 2021, he said:
“As part of my campaign for County Executive, one of my themes was “Thriving Rural Communities.”… “To me, achieving the dream of “Thriving Rural Communities” required gaining a thorough and more in-depth respect for the struggles of our people in agriculture, and attempting to identify ways to help them navigate this real-time economic restructuring. … From a county that in just over a decade went from a majority of the board having at least some agricultural background to just three supervisors with relevant experience in the industry today.”
This is definitely an historic point in time, not just for the County Executive, but for the Supervisors, as well. Is there a sincere commitment to agriculture in Washington County? Although, the County is temporarily awash in Federal funding, it does not need to spend monies on ill-advised, huge projects. Many roads in Washington County need to be resurfaced and upgraded. Let’s fix what we have, re-evaluate in the future, and save agriculture in the bargain.
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