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Roadwork begins on Highway 45 in Eagle River Submitted: 08/12/2019
EAGLE RIVER - Road work began Monday on Highway 45 in Eagle River. The goal of the project is to improve traffic flow and safety. But a lack of communication has caused some frustration for some.

Cones are out and machinery is in place.

"As part of that resurfacing effort, they're hoping to address some safety concerns they found with the highway," said Wisconsin DOT Project Development Supervisor Jed Peters.

There have been issues with crashes on that stretch of road. So, the goal is to make the road safer.


"We're going to be re-configuring U.S. Highway 45 or Pine Street from four lanes, two lanes in each direction, to a three lane roadway, which will be a single lane in each direction and a turn lane in the center," said Peters.

But some people have concerns and questions about this project, including businesses.

"I feel like everybody in the town is somewhat on the same page," said O'Reilly Auto Parts Store Manager Jeremiah Johnson. "We're all wondering why this came about and what provoked the idea to go from a four lane to a two lane with wider bicycling."

Johnson's goal now is to keep things running as normal.

"We're not slowing down one bit because of it so, we're going to keep our pace the same and stay staffed for it, but it's going to rely on convenience of the customer," said Johnson.

Despite the confusion, there was a public meeting held after the contract was awarded to discuss how the project was going to work. This project has been in the works since 2014.

"We were able to conduct 24 hour a day 365 day a year traffic counts on that segment of highway to make sure that we were not constricting the highway with this reduction in the number of traffic lanes," said Peters.

There's one thing the DOT wants people to know as the project gets going.

"Slow down, put the cell phone down, and travel safe," said Peters.

The DOT does have a website that updates the public on construction projects across the state. You can visit projects.511wi.gov for the latest on this project and many more happening across the state.



Story By: Devin Biggs

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