News & Notes: July 9

July 9, 2012

I-43 buckles under intense heat

Muskego - With last week's sweltering temperatures, roads were buckling from the heat all over the state, including Interstate 43 in Muskego.

At 5:30 p.m. July 2, buckling was reported on northbound I-43 at Racine Avenue to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Only a short distance west past Big Bend at Evergreen Drive, more buckling was reported July 6, also on northbound I-43.

But within three to four hours, crews were there to put in temporary fixes that made the road safe until they can come back to do a permanent fix, said Michael Pyritz, communications specialist with the DOT's southeast region.

Those were the only two instances of heat causing roads to buckle in Waukesha County, according to the DOT map pinpointing the locations of buckling roads. But there were three instances in Milwaukee County - in Greenfield, Wauwatosa and West Allis.

In every case, crews cut out the damaged sections and put plugs in, Pyritz said. Although the temporary patches are sturdy, they are not permanent. Permanent fixes are needed to avoid future maintenance issues, he said. The plugs are normally in expansion joint areas designed to give paving room to expand in the heat. The plugs change the healthy dynamics of those expansion joints, he said.

Buckling happens under intense heat when the expansion space isn't big enough to accommodate the expanding paving, Pyritz said.

On July Fourth alone, approximately 17 pavement buckles on major highways were reported to the DOT. But that would have been a lot worse without the drought that hit the state, he said, noting that as water expands, it creates pressure that helps drive buckling.

Fourth quiet with fireworks ban

Muskego - Because the dry weather makes the danger of fire high, Muskego's ban on individual fireworks remained in effect all through time period, July 1-7, when the city normally allows private fireworks displays for those having permits.

The mayor and Common Council enacted the fireworks ban June 30 on the recommendation of the fire chief and a notice from the state Department of Natural Resources. The city already has a burn ban in effect.

Permit holders can get their money back or ask for the permit to be good for next year if they provide proof of insurance by June 14, 2013.

"The council made the right decision," Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said. "We think people will understand because everyone wants people to be safe."

The council may review its permitting process and the use of fireworks in the future. Muskego is the only metropolitan-area community that allows individual fireworks displays with permits.

Residents cooperated well with the bans, police said. A few warnings for minor infractions of the burning and fireworks bans were written, but commanders said Monday they doubt that anybody got a ticket.

WCC dispatchers taking overnight calls from city

New Berlin - The city began phasing its emergency dispatch operations into the Waukesha County Communications Center on June 30.

The New Berlin Common Council decided earlier in June to disband the city's dispatch unit and have all 911 calls answered by the WCC.

As of June 30, WCC dispatchers started answering 911 calls overnight from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., sending police, fire or paramedic personnel as needed. There is no change for those needing emergency help. They will still dial 911.

Calls to New Berlin's nonemergency line, (262) 782-6640, during those overnight hours also will be answered by WCC dispatchers.

But callers should dial a different telephone number between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. if they have administrative questions regarding special events, how to pay tickets, requests for overnight parking permission or anything that doesn't require a police response. The overnight number for those calls is (262) 780-8123.

The transition to WCC is expected to take several months. When complete, WCC will answer 911 calls from New Berlin 24 hours a day.

The WCC already answers 911 calls coming from cell phones.

Derby Day coming, race to find sponsors

New Berlin - The 48th Annual New Berlin Soap Box Derby, to be held Sept. 9, needs sponsors.

Car sponsors are sought for $20 a car, race partners for $150 and class sponsors for $1,500. The New Berlin Soap Box Derby Commission, a nonprofit, 501(c) (3) organization of volunteers, is asking for donations by July 29.

More information is available from Dave II or Mark, (414) 281-2020 days, or Dave (414) 379-9148 evenings, or email or visit the event website

The soap box derby is for New Berlin children ages 6 to 16 and is held on the 1,000-foot, paved track in Valley View Park.

Two major road projects to be pushed back a year

New Berlin - Residents and businesses along portions of Coffee Road and Lincoln Avenue who have been bracing for road work next year will have a reprieve at least until 2014.

New Berlin could not fulfill all the requirements in order for the state to be able to bid the projects in time for next year, officials said. The projects are Coffee Road from Calhoun Road to National Avenue and Lincoln Avenue from Calhoun to Moorland roads.

Among the things slowing the process are land acquisitions and various approvals.

The New Berlin Board of Public Works on July 16 may officially move the projects back a year. The Coffee Road east project estimated cost is $689,200 and the Lincoln Avenue estimated cost is $2.5 million.

Moving them back would leave only one major road project next year - Ryerson Road from Calhoun to Moorland roads. That $4 million project has a $176,700 federal urban road grant going for it.

Also next year, the city also would do many small road rehabilitation projects totaling $2,769,500. City officials expect a $98,000 grant to help with that cost.

If Coffee Road east and Lincoln Avenue are moved to 2014, they would join two other major road projects already slated for that year. One project is actually three roads - Michelle Witmer Lane, Library Lane and Wilbur Drive - all in the New Berlin City Center, totaling about $382,000 in construction costs. The other project is Woelfel Road from Coffee to Observatory roads. Construction is estimated at $595,000.

The smaller road rehabilitation projects in 2014 would total $2.8 million.


Local Crime Map



Latest Photo Galleries