Highway project discussed
Construction planned on State 49
By Holly Neumann
During a Feb. 5 community meeting at the Scandinavia Municipal Center, the State Highway 49 highway project was discussed.
The project spans 4.3 miles from Depot Street in Scandinavia to the south junction of State 161 in Iola.
Due to aging and deterioration of the current surface of State 49, a 1 3/4-inch layer of asphalt will be removed and replaced with a new top layer to extend its life and improve the driving surface.
While most sections of the road will remain the same, the section from North Main Street in Scandinavia through the curve on County B east will be widened to 12-foot lanes and 3-foot paved shoulders.
Centerline rumble strips will also be added.
Grooved reflective pavement markings for edge lines will be applied where the speed limit is greater than 40 mph to improve visibility.
Other proposed improvements include the sidewalk between Division and Ellefson streets in Iola.
It would also include replacing pedestrian curb ramps that do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility criteria.
Proposed ramps to be replaced include the following intersections with State 49: Scandinavia pedestrian ramps – Depot Street – northeast quadrant, Mill Street/Norse Street – all four quadrants; Center Street – southeast, northeast and northwest quadrants; Church Street – southeast and northeast quadrants; and North Shore Drive – southeast, northeast and northwest quadrants. Iola pedestrian ramps – Division Street – southwest and northwest quadrants; Ellefson Street – southwest and northwest quadrants; and State 161 – southwest and southeast quadrants.
The guard rail located along southbound State 49 at the south end of Scandinavia directly across from Depot Street would be replaced.
Bypass lane may be removed
Meadow Lane bypass lane upgrades are also proposed to remove the southbound bypass lane.
Doug Kulinski, owner of Sentry Foods expressed concerns about that.
“The traffic volume at that intersection does not warrant a bypass lane,” said Project Manager Wendy Arneson. “We will not remove any of the pavement there. We will mill and over lay that pavement with the same kind of treatment, but the edge line will run straight through instead of bowing out at that location.”
Kulinski thinks the bypass is necessary, especially during the Iola Car Show, as removal of it would cause additional backups and possibly accidents.
Arneson said they will look at the area again to address his concern.
Pat Boyle, of Scandinavia, asked if there are any plans for storm sewers.
Arneson said the village of Scandinavia would have to address it with the state as there are no current plans.
During the project, traffic would remain open, but likely be reduced to one lane.
Scheduling around summer events
Contractors would work around local events such as the Iola Car Show and Scandinavia Corn Roast and will not be working during those times.
There will be no milled surfaces during the Iola Car Show.
The environmental document is anticipated to be approved in late February with the real estate acquisition process to start in the spring/summer of 2020.
Coordination with utilities is to begin in the summer of 2020, with designs to be completed by November 2021 and construction bid letting for March 2022.
The preliminary length of the project is eight weeks.
Those who have questions or concerns about the project may contact project managers Wendy Arneson at 715-421-7391 or Teri Schopp at 920-342-2176.