University Avenue Rebuild Complete

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By: 
Cameron Bren
University Ave. at the intersection of Parmenter St. has a new left turn lane as part of improvements made to the street. The City of Middleton and Dane County worked together on the improvements, which included repaving.

MIDDLETON–University Ave., which reopened July 17, underwent a major overhaul spanning from Cayuga Ct. to Park St. that took cooperation from multiple levels of government, businesses, contractors, utility and public safety workers and the patience of thousands of drivers since it began in April. The overhaul includes repair of water and sewer, new traffic signals replacement, major intersection improvements at Parmenter Street, new concrete curb and asphalt pavement.

The $1.5 million construction cost was split between the city and the county each paying half. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says the project improved public safety. 

“As Dane County grows, it is important that we continue upgrading our roads to maintain public safety,” says Parisi. “These improvements to University Avenue mean safer travel for drivers and pedestrians and a more robust infrastructure for Dane County moving forward.”

Mayor Gurdip Brar says the operation took cooperation from many sources. 

“A road improvement project like this doesn’t just happen,” Brar states. “It took partnership with the County and with St. Bernard Parish. It took cooperation from the business community, emergency service providers, downtown residents and commuters. Most of all, it took planning and designing and hard work from a team of dedicated professionals who just want to make things better.”

Brar added the long queues a Parmenter should no longer exist.

“The addition of dedicated left turn lanes at the University Ave. and Parmenter Street Intersection and traffic signal changes will improve both safety for the traveling public, and access to our downtown,” Brar says. “The very long queues at this intersection every morning and every afternoon are history.”

City of Middleton Public Works Director Shawn Stauske says the project should mean less traffic and car accidents. 

“Nearly 24,000 vehicles travel through this intersection every day, and on average there was a crash here every three weeks,” Stauske says. “There were very long queues at this intersection every morning and every afternoon. Drivers were often frustrated with delay, they couldn’t always see if it was safe to turn left, and they sometimes took chances they wished they hadn’t. It is our hope that the addition of dedicated left turn lanes and traffic signal changes will improve both safety for the traveling public, and access to the downtown.”

Stauske explains the project was pursued in partnership with the Dane County, with the Dane County Highway Department taking the lead on construction and coordination of subcontractors. The City Streets crew took the lead on traffic sign and street light relocations and traffic signal upgrades and worked together with the county crews on storm sewer improvements and pavement markings. The city’s water and sewer utilities worked with a hired contractor to reconfigure several sections of water and sewer mains.

With significant rain levels so far this year the project opened about two weeks after its scheduled opening of July 4. In November the city will take over jurisdiction of the roadway.

The city also partnered with the county in 2017 when the eastern portion of University Ave. from Park St. to Allen Blvd. underwent construction. New features included an on-road bike path, along with replacement of the road’s old curbs, gutters, and deteriorated concrete pavement. The $3 million project was equally funded by Dane County and the City of Middleton.

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