State 23 project begins

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Add State 23 north of the city of Plymouth to the list of road construction zones complicating the summer for area motorists.

Mashuda Contractors of Princeton began work this week on reconstruction of the State 23 intersections with Fairview Drive (County O), Highland Avenue (County E) and Pleasant View Road, as well as the intersection with County M in the town of Sheboygan Falls.

The work, which will reconfigure all four intersections, will continue through mid to late October.

With lane and intersection closures scheduled at various points during the four-month project, it promises to create traffic concerns and hassles during a busy summer season.

Officials from Road America and the Sheboygan County Fair expressed concerns about the disruptions construction and lane closures this summer will have on their events.

“I’m not sure how to tell people to get there,” Fair Manager Janeen Cain said of getting people to events at the fairgrounds. “They can get there from the west, but how do they get there from the east or north? It’s going to be a mess.”

The project will require weekly lane, intersection and median closures at one or more of the intersections, varying from week to week depending on the progress of the work, Matt Mashuda of Mashuda Contractors told the audience of several dozen people at the Plymouth Town Hall.

“As soon as we can get the pavement down and the markings down and the signs up, they (lanes) will be open,” he stated. He said Oct. 15 is the targeted completion date.

The eventual goal is to close off the medians at all three intersections to crossing traffic (except for emergency vehicles). Right turns only would be allowed from all three intersecting roads onto State 23.

The project will also include construction of left turn lanes from State 23 to each of the three roads.

In addition, the crossing at County M will be closed and a J-turn intersection will be constructed.

“This is basically a safety improvement,” Thomas Conto of R.A. Smith National, consulting engineers on the project, explained. “Anybody who lives around here knows how often accidents happen on Pleasant View, E and even O,” involving vehicles attempting to cross all four lanes of State 23.

Road America officials expressed concern about the timing of the start of the project this week.

It will result in State 23 being closed down to one lane in both directions through Friday afternoon, which would coincide with the start of the NASCAR race weekend at the Elkhart Lake track.

While work is also going on on State 57 this week, that project will be shut down from noon Thursday through Friday to allow for the NASCAR truck convoy and other Road America traffic.

The Road America officials asked why the same considerations could not be made on State 23.

Mashuda noted that the State 23 project had originally been scheduled to get underway in July, but the bids were awarded earlier than expected, enabling work to start earlier.

The first two days would be primarily setup work, he went on, meaning actual construction would not begin until Wednesday, making it difficult to shut work back down Thursday and Friday.

“It’s really poor coordination and communication between the two projects,” the Road America representative stated. “It’s really frustrating for us between the two projects and with all the stuff going on in the area.”

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