Marley Street to be reconstructed near Highway 29
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – The village board has approved an agreement with Brown County related to the reconstruction of Marley Street where an interchange is planned on State Highway 29.
The board’s motion is contingent upon the village acquiring the right-of-way with the road being reconstructed with a 16-foot, two-way left turn lane in the middle.
In June, the village board approved a resolution in support of the county’s application for 80 percent Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) funding for the reconstruction of Marley Street, which will become County VV.
That resolution sought federal or state funds to provide 80 percent of the estimated engineering and construction costs with the remaining 20 percent shared between Howard, the county and the Town of Pittsfield.
Marley Street from Evergreen Avenue to Glendale Avenue will also have a jurisdictional change for the street to become a county highway.
Traffic on Marley Street is expected to increase upon the interchange being built.
With the County VV interchange on Highway 29 planned for completion in the fall of 2022, Geoff Farr, director of public works, said the reconstruction of Marley Street needs to coincide with the design process and construction schedule for the interchange project.
“The reason these issues are being pushed forward is because we’re short of time,” Farr said.
Farr said the Marley Street reconstruction project will cost around $4.3 million and run from the roundabout south of Milltown Road to the Town of Pittsfield.
“This is also a Pittsfield/Village of Howard/Brown County project,” he said. “$4.3 million is the grand total for the roadway. Of that portion, there is about $350,000 the village will be responsible for. The village would acquire, maybe, about $100,000 in right-of-way, plus sanitary sewer and storm water costs in addition to those.”
Regarding concerns expressed by residents in the area as to where the centerline of the reconstructed roadway would be located, Farr said that has been discussed in detail with the county.
“The issue is we have a wetland on one side, we have residents on the other, and certainly they have some interest in asking the road be shifted, say, to the east, because there’s less homes in that direction,” he said. “However, there’s also a wetland.”
Farr said the design process includes all the environmental studies required by the federal government.
He said a determination will be made where to place the right-of-way, which will be brought back to the village board for approval in late 2020 or early 2021.
Though the road was initially proposed for a width of 37 feet, Farr said a two-way left turn lane is being added to have a total of three lanes because of the traffic projections for when the interchange would be in place.
“We know that improvements beyond this project, certainly over the next stage, would be like a four-lane road, that’s probably, let’s hope, 30 or more years away…,” he said. “Knowing the future road widths, an 80-foot right-of-way is appropriate here.”
Farr said the traffic lanes north and south would be 12 feet wide with an additional 4 feet on the outsides without a stripe for a total width of 16 feet.
“You make it a 16-foot lane,” he said. ”Bikes and cars use it… You would have three 16-foot lanes. The center lane would either be a median or a (two-way left turn lane).”
Trustee Craig McAllister asked if there would be a buy-out option for properties in the event the road would be located too close to some homes in the area.
Farr said those homes have a “regular setback” with the road staying on the existing centerline.
“We would not be infringing or let’s say greatly affecting the value of the homes…,” he said.
Farr said it’s a “fair request” by the homeowners to ask the road be offset in the other direction from the houses or be balanced between them.
“I think the only thing we have to look at is what will the environmental permitting process allow,” Farr said. “It’s possible, and of course the county wouldn’t like, this sort of kind of S-curve type of thing.”
Farr said the traffic projections for the roadway predict the number of cars to increase from the current 1,000 to 5,000 per day once the interchange would be completed in 2022 and then grow to 7,500 cars per day by 2042.
In June, the board also backed an agreement with the county for constructing the Highway 29/County VV interchange.
That agreement calls for Howard to commit around $3.2 million over four years for its share of the project, for which the bulk of the approximately $27.8 million in funds will be coming from a federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant.
Howard, along with the county and the Village of Hobart, have been seeking to have the Highway 29/County VV intersection improved because of concerns about safety, as well as a desire to attract more development.