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Muskego sets out on path toward improved Pioneer Drive

May 14, 2012

Muskego - Work has begun on a Pioneer Drive road and beautification project that Muskego aldermen hope will give new life to the city's historic district south of Janesville Road.

The project not only involves new pavement, but also the removal overhead utility lines and the installation of decorative lighting along the right of way. We Energies is already tearing up Pioneer to bury the electrical lines. The actual road work is slated to start soon.

"It will increase the potential for commerce along there," said Alderman Keith Werner, adding that the completed work should enhance home values, as well.

Pricey, but now less so

Some objected to the original $2.1 million estimated price tag for the less-than-a-mile stretch from Janesville Road to Racine Avenue. But that total has shrunk to $1.24 million.

While the city got favorable bids from contractors, the main reason for the lower cost is that a water main will be installed in only the northern part of the project instead of the whole way, said David Simpson, department of public works director.

"We're not doing it because residents didn't want it," Simpson said.

But businesses at the northern end did, so they will pay to have water brought to them. The cost will be about $75,000, he said.

In another adjustment for residents, people in the southern portion of the road said they wanted to keep its rural feel so they will not get the curbs that will go in front of businesses.

Property owners paying special assessments on the installment plan will pay 8 percent interest.

The city considered lowering its installment rate based on low-interest loans climate that currently exists. But the city's Finance Committee last week decided to keep the 8 percent, mainly because it doesn't want the city to be a bank with loans outstanding for years.

The intention is to encourage people to get lower-interest loans from their banks to pay the special assessments.

Other project elements

The project also will take care of the majority of flooding problems experienced north of City Hall, Simpson said, and will help localized flooding issues. But water problems from backups at a box culvert will be unchanged, he said, without cooperation from Muskego's neighboring communities.

Pioneer also will get a recreation path from Racine Avenue north almost to Janesville Road. The path will be separated from the road by the shoulder and a five-foot grassy area.

The new recreation trail will link up with the Muskego recreation trail at Horn Park that goes through much of the city. It also will link up with sidewalks that will be installed on both sides of Janesville Road when that road is widened.

The Pioneer roadwork will stop short of Pioneer's intersection with Janesville Road because that intersection will have to be redone in 2013, when the Janesville widening project gets that far, Simpson said.

The first phase this year will get only as far as Lannon Road, starting at Moorland Road. The two-lane road is being widened to four lanes and will get curb and gutter and sidewalks on both sides.

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