Few Changes Foreseen for Pleasant View Road Design

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Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Widening Pleasant View Road will bring drastic changes for some property owners and project engineers held out little hope of the design being tweaked to minimize its impacts.

Property owners on the west side of the road, north of Pleasant View Golf Course, to the intersection with USH 14 have been most vocal about restrictive access the widening will create and the expense they will be assessed.

Northwestern Stone’s owner, Richard Bakken, has said that putting a roundabout at the Quarry Road intersection will be difficult for his oversized equipment to navigate.  

The roundabout’s radius will be tricky for the lowboy trailer to maneuver if it dog tracks or, swings wider through a turn, and it has only eight inches ground clearance, said Bakken during a town of Middleton Town Board meeting last week.

Project Manager Brian Andreas, of Strand Associates, Inc. said Bakken’s quarry equipment was test driven at a simulated roundabout which is being designed to accommodate large vehicle turns. 

Other roundabouts are proposed for intersections at Greenway Boulevard and Blackhawk an Elderberry roads.

Andreas said it would be unlikely for the Middleton Common Council to revise the roundabout recommended for the project.

Portions of road are adjacent to the Town of Middleton, including the Northwestern Stone quarry. The town doesn’t assess property owners for road improvements, but the city of Middleton will, which also riled Bakken.

“It’s really not fair. It impacts our livelihood. That’s a tremendous amount of cost and somewhere or another it must be changed,” said Bakken of the quarry that has been in operation for decades.

The city would assess property owners for its cost of the road widening, sidewalks, curb and gutter, new driveway aprons and streetlights, said Gary Huth, an assistant city engineer.

The amount each property owner would be assessed hasn’t been determined yet, Hutch said.

The city has a 60 percent share of the project’s cost within its boundaries and has agreed to administer the portions of the project that are adjacent to the town.

New cost estimates are being calculated but the city’s cost for Phase 1 of the project, which stretches from Timber Wolf Trail (located north of Old Sauk Road) to USH 14, said Huth. Last summer, the city’s cost share was estimated at $17.45 million.

While the city’s Tax Incremental Financing would pay for the cost of water and sewer main extensions, property owners are required to pay the cost of improvements to roads.

Assessments can be paid during a three-year period plus simple interest.

The town has an agreement with the City of Madison that allows the city to assess properties for improvements that abut the city. Middleton has proposed a similar agreement with the town which, is under consideration said Town Chair Cynthia Richson.

If the city and town don’t reach an agreement on assessments, the city would create a deferred assessment district and the properties would pay the assessment plus interest when the owner elects to annex into the city.

The city will need some right-of-way and easements for the project and has contracted with a firm to negotiate those acquisitions with individual property owners.

Access to the new Pleasant View Road for a few residential properties in Phase 1 will be limited to right turn only in and out of the property. Ted Helleckson noted that would greatly inconvenience his parents who live in the project area.

Board Supervisor Brent Renteria said the lack of median openings proposed for the new Pleasant View Road are being made a bigger issue than they should be.

He said the median openings for USH 14 at Deming Way weren’t “very harrowing to cross,” and suggested the engineers reconsider the design of Pleasant View Road with that in mind.

Hilly Pleasant View Road is different than the flat expanse of USH 14, but the final design will depend on federal approval, said Huth.

Town Engineer Rod Zubella is waiting for a response from the state Department of Transportation if a “mountable median” would be allowed for this portion of the project.

“Those who know it’s there would use it. Maybe it could be tried on a trial basis and we could alter it with a barrier median if problems arise,” Zubella said.

There would be no left turns out of the Builders First Source or Middleton Farmer’s Cooperative properties, as their driveways would be deemed too close to USH 14, Andreas said.

The project design is scheduled to continue into 2022 with construction anticipated for the fall of 2022 or summer 2023.

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