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Interchange plans and details revealed

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – Even though it has not been bid out to contractors, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has pegged the cost a major project lower than projected.

At the Hobart village board meeting on Tuesday, Jan 15, the board learned that the Wisconsin Highway 29/County Highway VV interchange is projected to cost a total of $27.8 million.

A federal grant will also pick up $19.8 million of the cost, with Hobart projected to pay $1.6 million.

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer previously estimated the cost to be between $35 and $40 million with Hobart expected to pay close to $3 million.

Brown County and the village of Howard will also pay for parts of the project.

“We expressed extreme confidence that we will meet our financials,” Kramer said of a planning meeting held with all parties on Monday, Jan. 14.

At the village board meeting, the board approved an option for the service road that would eliminate the current J-turns at the intersection, have the off-ramp located at County Highway U, and install a roundabout in what is now an empty area.

The roundabout will go on North Overland Road, and the village will have to pay the cost to increase the road size and install storm sewer and utilities.

“Some people are wondering why put a roundabout right now where there is nothing,” Kramer said. “Because someday there will be something.”

The approved option will now be presented to the county and the state, which will continue the process.

The county is acting as project manager, while the DOT will do the engineering, building and land acquisition, the last of which Hobart will pay for.

Kramer also released a timeline for the project.

Environmental work will start this spring and take roughly a year to complete. Right-of-way plats will start being created in February 2020, then it will take a year to a year and a half to acquire the property needed for the project.

The project will be bid out in 2022, and finally it is expected to be completed in fall of 2023.

“They did say to us that is an aggressive timetable for a project of this size,” Kramer said.

The overall cost will likely increase when the work is bid out, he said.

This project will also be paid for out of the village’s Tax Incremental District No. 1, so it will not affect the village’s general tax roll.

In other road-related news, the village board gave the approval to start bidding out summer road projects in the village.

Most of the work projected to be completed will be on Plane Site Boulevard in southern Hobart and North Overland leading up to Centennial Centre.

The village also: approved changes to the weapons discharge map, essentially taking care of discrepancies; approved staff to proceed with the creation of a website to encourage business growth; and approved a resolution to remove a water credit policy and replace it with the option to install deduct meters.

The Press Times will look in-depth at the deduct meters in the Jan. 25 issue.

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