Franklin — Residents may be sorely disappointed with the county's progress on reconstruction of South North Cape Road this winter.
Milwaukee County Supervisor and former alderman Steve Taylor announced that reconstruction of the road won't begin until next year during a common council meeting Aug. 5.
The city had expected one-third of the road, stretching from West Speedway to West Scherrei Drive, to be completely rebuilt by the end of the year. Reconstruction of the remaining portion of the road was slated for 2015.
Residents and city officials agreed that the county-owned South North Cape Road has been in desperate need of repair for many years; but when it came to proposed designs for the remodel, city officials faced many objections.
Multiple residents protested in January that the installation of sidewalk — a requirement to receive state funding for the project — would result in significant tree removal.
After several negotiations with the county, the Common Council approved a new design that would forgo sidewalks to save the trees. The county agreed to pay approximately $2.25 million for the total South North Cape project if the city agreed to cover the cost of maintaining the county road once reconstruction was complete. The Common Council agreed to spend $50,000 to save some of the trees along the first one-third of the road.
Rather than have the one-third of South North Cape Road completed this year, the county now aims to complete the entire road in two phases in 2015.
The delay is due to certain utility work required to begin reconstruction, Taylor said.
"And the reason is simple: the prior common council took way too long to decide," he said. "Former Mayor Tom Taylor and I said that we needed to make a decision, and now it's going to cost us. Now, those residents will have a horrendous road this winter because of it."
The necessary utility work along the road will be completed during the winter, but as for any reconstruction this year, "nothing's going to be done," Taylor said after the meeting.
Another road on the horizon
At the same common council meeting, aldermen discussed a new county road reconstruction project — St. Martins Road, which crosses South North Cape.
The county contacted Franklin in May in regard to rehabilitation of St. Martins, from Highway 100 — or South Lovers Lane Road — to South North Cape.
Conditions for the reconstruction of St. Martins are similar to that of South North Cape: a rural road without sidewalks that needs repair.
The council discussed methods of gaining residential feedback regarding a path or sidewalk along the road in addition to the extension of a water main.
If a survey is conducted, "I can guarantee you we're going to have the same results that we had with North Cape Road," said Alderman Mark Dandrea. "(Residents) are not going to be interested in a path because nobody wants it in their backyard."
But before the city begins to survey residents, officials first want to know what the county expects the cost to be.
"(The county) needs to know what we require of them," said Ron Romeis, assistant city engineer. "The belief is that (state funding) will not be required based on the type of rehabilitation we want."
What the city wants is to replace the current road — no sidewalks, no paths, no water main, Mayor Steve Olson said.
"If (the county) says no muss, no fuss — we're in good shape," he said.
"The best situation is that the county reconstruct the road now, and we can worry about the sidewalks and water main at another time," Olson said after the meeting. "We first need to properly inform our residents about what the county wants."
The council unanimously agreed to table the item related to surveying residents until the city received a response from the county.
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