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Roll out the barrels – orange, that is; Summer road construction in full bloom

Roll out the barrels – orange, that is; Summer road construction in full bloom


RACINE COUNTY — The proliferation of orange barrels, detours and narrowed lanes of traffic in road construction work zones is testing the patience of many a driver in Racine County these days.

Multiple road work projects are already underway or will soon commence, including a variety of road work projects slated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Racine County, the City of Racine and the villages of Caledonia and Mount Pleasant. Tentative work schedules are subject to change and dependent on weather conditions.

City of Racine

A number of road projects are slated for the City of Racine this year according to John Rooney, commissioner of public works, who noted several major projects are being undertaken jointly with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Durand Avenue: Work is ongoing on Durand Avenue (Highway 11) between Kentucky Street and Kearney Avenue, Rooney said, with road work west of Kentucky to Highway 31 being managed solely by the DOT. Work, which began in late February/early March, is anticipated to be wrapped up by late October to early November.

“The project is currently being built under traffic conditions,” Rooney noted. “A good portion of the project is being constructed under bi-directional traffic, essentially about the western three-fourths of it. The eastern section from Drexel to Kearney is built under traffic conditions, however only eastbound traffic is being permitted in that section. The detour for that section westbound currently is set up using Memorial Drive, Chicory Road and then back to Lathrop Avenue.

“Once the north half of the roadway is constructed completely, which we believe will be July sometime, then we’ll open the project up to bi-directional traffic on the new pavement,” Rooney said. “We’ll build the south half of the road and by early fall there’s median work that will have to be completed, so the traffic will be pushed to the very outside lanes in each direction and we’ll fill in the median sections of the project. There’s a couple of stages we’ll be going through.”

16th Street: Another joint project with WisDOT, started last month, is 16th Street from Highway 32/Racine Street east to Main Street, which is slated for completion in late October or early-to-mid November at the latest. The project area is currently closed to traffic, with signed detours established.

Highway 38: A third collaborative project between the city and WisDOT will focus on the intersection of State Street/Highway 38 and North Memorial Drive, with a start date in mid-to-late summer. Rooney said the two to three-month project will encompass the redoing of traffic signals, pavement repairs, improvement of pavement markings and the “safety project” application of a high-friction surface treatment coating “that helps vehicles stay on the road better in wet weather conditions through the curvilinear driving path.” WisDOT expects the project to be conducted under traffic conditions with lane restrictions and possibly some occasional short-term road closures.

Additionally, Rooney said preparatory late summer utility work is slated for Washington Avenue (Highway 20) from just east of West Boulevard. “to the city limits near the Sycamore, Roosevelt area” as “the DOT, in partnership with the City of Racine, will be reconstructing that roadway in 2021.”

Lathrop Avenue: Work also continues on the Lathrop Avenue water main, which is being replaced from 17th Street to Durand Avenue. That project is expected to continue through June. Repaving is also planned for later this summer on Lathrop, from Durand Avenue to Republic Avenue.

North side projects

Rooney also noted the following projects for the city’s north side:

  • LaSalle Street concrete reconstruction from Lombard Avenue to South Street, and asphalt resurfacing on LaSalle from Melvin Avenue to Lombard.
  • Asphalt resurfacing of South Street from Douglas Avenue to North Main Street.
  • Complete concrete pavement reconstruction of Hamilton Street from Douglas Avenue west to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
  • Asphalt resurfacing on Ontario Street from State Street south to the dead end.

“A lot of these projects haven’t even started yet,” Rooney said. “Utility companies are finishing utilities, whether We Energies, Racine Water Department or others. Our contractors will be moving in there shortly.”

South side projects

South Side resurfacing projects are scheduled to include Lathrop Avenue from Durand Avenue to Republic Avenue; Russet Street from Washington Avenue to Haven Avenue; and Lindermann Avenue from Orchard Street to Lathrop Avenue.

Isolated projects

Rooney said work is already underway paving a “handful” of “local, neighborhood-type streets” and alleys via assessment to the abutting property owners.

The street projects are Chatham Street from Lombard Street north to the dead end; Savoy Circle from Cecelia Park Dr. to the cul-de-sac; Lake Avenue from 11th St. to 12th St.; and Library Drive from Sixth St. south to the cul-de-sac by Memorial Hall and the Racine Public Library.

One alley project is bounded by High Street, St. Patrick Street, Summit Avenue and Carlisle Avenue, while the other is bounded by Mohr Avenue Carmel Avenue, Graham Street and Chicago Street.

Beyond those projects, Rooney anticipates just “miscellaneous work” of pavement repair and “spot repairs” of sanitary and storm sewers throughout the year.

WisDOT projects

Highway 20: In addition to three collaborative construction projects in the City of Racine, other area WisDOT road work projects being undertaken this summer include:

The ongoing Highway 20 Crossroads Project in the Villages of Yorkville and Mount Pleasant, tied into the I-94 North-South Freeway Project, is expected to “be substantially complete by the end of this year,” with an anticipated return next spring to complete any punch list items and finalize any plantings and landscape work that may not be appropriate for fall planting.

Access to I-94 in the 20 Crossroads area is restricted. Westbound traffic on Highway 20 is not able to access southbound I-94, while eastbound traffic on Highway 20 is not able to access northbound I-94. Detours are posted, with Highway 11 and County Highway G serving as Interstate access points for detoured traffic depending on which direction motorists are coming from.

I-94: The multi-year full reconstruction I-94 North-South Freeway Project from the Illinois state line north to the Mitchell Interchange in Milwaukee County, the fastest-paced Mega Project in WisDOT history, is expected to wrap up within the next several months, with Racine County currently “pretty much being in the punch list work” with “overnight impacts, if any at all.” Much of the area around Highway G has already been reopened.

Foxconn work

Other major WisDOT ongoing road work in Racine County is in the Foxconn development area as part of the Wisconn Valley Development Roads Project, including work on County Highway H, Braun Road, Highway KR, and work off of Highway 11 and Highway H.

Work continues on Highway KR as part of the Wisconn Valley Development Roads Project. Phase 1 of the project, from I-94 to Highway H, was completed in May. Phase 2, with an anticipated completion by the end of 2022, involves 2.8 miles of the two-lane county highway being redeveloped into a four-lane improved divided highway in an area running from 400 feet east of Highway H to 1,600 feet east of Old Green Bay Road. Once the Highway KR project is completed, jurisdiction for Highway KR will be returned to Racine and Kenosha Counties.


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