Mequon - Citing safety concerns, the city will relocate portions of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, aided by a state grant and collaboration with a regional utility.
The Common Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of moving 1,500 to 2,000 feet of the trail near a We Energies substation along Bonniwell Road. Work is expected to begin later this year and wrap in 2013.
"This portion of trail has significant safety concerns due to substandard designs, including steep slopes and 90-degree turns, and the fact that it crosses We Energies' entrance to their substation," said Nathan Check, director of public works and city engineer.
Several organizations, including an advisory council for the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, have backed the city's concerns.
"The advisory council has rated this segment of the trail as one of the greatest weaknesses and safety concerns on the OIT," Council Chairman Andrew Struck said. "(The group) has been discussing its improvement for several years."
We Energies cooperation
The council's recent action puts an end to the six-month discussion that has included extensive dialogue with We Energies. City officials initially asked the utility to share the costs of the trail relocation, but the request was denied.
However, both parties have come to an agreement that calls on the utility to move fencing around the substation so it does not abut the trail.
Check said the mutual agreement will result in significant cost savings as rerouting begins.
Costs and funding
The initial proposal, with the substation remaining as-is, was an estimated $321,048 - a figure taking into account design and construction work. But Check said the revised proposal has been whittled down to $170,000.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will fund 80 percent, or $136,000, of the work. The city will chip in the remaining $34,000.
The 30-mile paved trail, which passes through eight of the 16 municipalities in Ozaukee County, includes more than six miles within Mequon.
According to city officials, between 175 and 325 people use the trail, on average, daily.
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