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U.S. 10 may become freeway

Fremont to Amherst study started

By Robert Cloud

CO-US10-amherstThe entire 31 miles of U.S. Highway 10 between Fremont and Amherst may one day be converted into a freeway.

Most of that stretch of U.S. 10 is currently an expressway, with access via local roads and private driveways.

A freeway has controlled access via interchanges with overpasses. All other access is blocked off.

CO-US10-farmingtonDepartment of Transportation representatives spoke to more than 160 people Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Waupaca Area Public Library, about plans to identify a highway corridor.

“This is a long-term study,” according to Gerry Schmitt, an engineer with KL Engineering. “We don’t have a construction date, and no real estate acquisitions are planned in the near future.”

CO-US10-waupacaRich Handrick, with the DOT, said the project is in a very early phase of planning.

The goal of the corridor study is to identify and preserve the land that will be needed for right of ways, interchanges, overpasses and frontage roads when U.S. 10 is converted.

Property owners and municipal governments will be able to plan developments and improvements that do not conflict with the freeway’s expanded corridor.

CO-US10-wegaSeveral of those present asked about the DOT’s timeline for determining what properties would be affected by the corridor. They noted that any improvements they make could be rendered worthless if the corridor passes through their property.

Handrick said the DOT needs time to locate hazardous material sites, archeological and historical sites and analyze the environmental and economic impacts as it determines where to locate interchanges, overpasses and local frontage roads.

CO-US10-fremontThe DOT plans to hold a second public meeting in the summer of 2017 when alternative routes and sites will be presented.

In the fall of 2017, the DOT will recommend its preferred alternative.

A preliminary design should be completed in the winter of 2018-19, with a draft environmental report completed the following year.

A public hearing on the environmental report is slated for the spring of 2020. And a public hearing on the official map of the highway corridor is slated for the spring of 2021.

In 2022, the official map for the U.S. 10 right of way will be completed and recorded.

The DOT is seeking public input on the U.S. 10 corridor.

Comments can be mailed to Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, 510 N. Hanson Lake Road, Rhinelander, WI 54501, Attn: Rich Handrick, or emailed to [email protected]. The deadline for comments is March 2.

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