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Mequon asks We Energies to split cost of trail improvements

Feb. 22, 2012

The Mequon Common Council tabled a proposal to rebuild a segment of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail near the We Energies electric substation south of Bonniwell Road on Tuesday. The total estimated cost of the relocation is $321,048, with 80 percent covered by a Wisconsin Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant and 20 percent coming from the city.

The city has asked We Energies to split that 20 percent cost and will wait for an answer before making a final decision.

Two aldermen, Dan Abendroth and Dale Mayr, appeared opposed to the project, saying it was too expensive.

The Ozaukee Interurban Advisory Council and the Mequon-Thiensville Bike and Pedestrian Committee both have identified the area for upgrades because of safety concerns. Between 175 to 325 people use the trail daily, according to a recent count.

The path crosses directly in front of gates into the substation, which is used by We Energies employees and vehicles two to five times a day. Perhaps a greater concern for those who bike on the path is the steep grade and two reverse curves that make east/south bound riding a challenge. Loose gravel at the bottom of the hill near the gate to the substation can heighten the danger for those on bikes.

Alderman John Hawkins asked how many accident reports there were for the area and was told two. However, since these are bike accidents which do not require reporting, there could be more.

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