Time to break State 23 bypass impasse

PLANS FOR ANY FUTURE frontage road paralleling State 23 between State 57 and State 67 seem to be stuck at a red light, with no telling when the light might turn green.

Eventually, the state Department of Transportation plans to convert State 23 north of the city of Plymouth to freeway status, which means the intersections at Fairview Drive (County O), Highland Avenue (County E) and Pleasant View Road would all be closed completely – not just the left-turn only onto State 23 that is now under construction.

A key part of that plan is to provide a frontage road that would allow access to the city of Plymouth via those three north-south roads, albeit not directly from State 23.

The start of that frontage road is already in place, with Kiley Way running from State 57 west to Pleasant View Road. The DOT and local officials are agreed on extending it west to Fairview Drive.

It’s from that point that the two sides diverge.

A 1997 agreement between the DOT, the city, the town of Plymouth and Sheboygan County called for the frontage road to continue south of State 23 all the way to State 67, including a bridge over the Mullet River.

The DOT now contends that agreement should be supplanted by one that would include an alternative bypass that would go north on County

E (utilizing an overpass to be built over State

23) to Woodland Road, then west on a one-mile extension of Woodland Road to State 67.

The DOT is not endorsing either alternative under this latest proposal, but the city, town and county have all gone on record again favoring the southern route.

The Woodland Road alternative would do a great disservice to many city residents and businesses by making access to much of the city far more circuitous and lengthy.

A concern for the DOT is the potential cost and possible environmental impact of another bridge over the Mullet River with the southern route, but there should be concerns as well with the northern route over the loss of farmland and potential impact on wetlands and waterways as well.

It has become apparent with the detour of traffic off State 23 during this summer’s intersection upgrade project that the city will need another major east-west arterial to carry traffic through and across the city when State 23 becomes a freeway and there is no accessing the highway at Pleasant View, Highland or Fairview.

It’s time for everyone involved – including business and industry leaders, citizens, public officials, local legislators and the DOT - to commit to one route. And the original southern route would be the most beneficial to the greatest number of people.

At issue:
State 23 bypass route
Bottom line:
Southern route is best

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