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Decisions loom for Main Street project in Thiensville

Water main, traffic study are important considerations

Oct. 22, 2013

Thiensville — Village officials have important decisions to make before undertaking a resurfacing project along Main Street in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation in 2015.

The resurfacing project would grind down and replace pavement, fix damaged curbs and gutters, rehab damaged concrete panels, and replace street lights and streetscaping features along Main Street, from Division Street north to village limits.

Wisconsin would kick in 80 percent of the cost, up to a roughly $680,000 limit, said Kevin Wagner of Ruekert and Mielke Engineers, presenting to the Village Board on behalf of the DOT on Monday.

Main concern

Whether the village's municipal water main should be extended during the project was one key sticking point during the discussion this week.

The project represents a significant deadline on the potential Main Street water project, which the Village Board has considered but not taken action on in recent years. Officials have acknowledged that it wouldn't make sense to pursue the water main project after 2015, since the village would be tearing up a newly reconditioned stretch of road to install the infrastructure.

Trustee John Treffert implored the board to make a commitment on the water main project soon, suggesting a March 31 deadline.

"We've been talking about this for two, three years now," Treffert said. "Let's make a decision."

A second deadline is 2017, the year in which a longstanding tax incremental financing district is set to expire, and with it the added tax revenue which village officials have used in recent years to fund capital projects.

Regardless of whether the board decides to go forward with the water main work, Village President Van Mobley said he would be willing to pay more to speed the project along and minimize disturbances to local businesses.

"I've heard from businesses that the last time we did Main Street it (took) a long time," said Mobley. "We need to be mindful of the needs of the businesses while doing the project."

Optional traffic study

Officials will also need to decide whether to pay an extra $7,000 to $10,000 on a traffic study along Main Street.

Though the scope of the 2015 project doesn't necessitate the study, village staff said it could help with future planning and development in Thiensville's commercial corridor.

However, as Public Works Director Andy LaFond noted, such a study could also reveal the need for projects the village hadn't previously budgeted for or considered.

Trustee Ron Heinritz lamented a reclassification in the early 1990s that no longer designated Main Street a highway — it had been known as a part of Highway 57 — but didn't necessarily change traffic patterns.

"All that traffic is still coming up and down the street, except they don't call it a highway," said Heinritz. "I think we're maintaining a highway for the state here."

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