Final hearing held on 23 plans

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff


PROJECT MANAGER NATASHA GWIDT (above right) was among the state Department of Transportation representatives taking comments Tuesday night at the final public hearing on the State 23 freeway corridor preservation plan held at Riverview Middle School. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner PROJECT MANAGER NATASHA GWIDT (above right) was among the state Department of Transportation representatives taking comments Tuesday night at the final public hearing on the State 23 freeway corridor preservation plan held at Riverview Middle School. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner PLYMOUTH – The public had a final chance to weigh in Tuesday on the state Department of Transportation freeway corridor preservation plan for State 23 from Sheboygan Falls to Plymouth.

The DOT held a public hearing on the plan – which designates future changes and land needs to upgrade that section of State 23 – at Riverview Middle School.

While the hearing drew approximately 90 people, no one spoke during the public hearing portion of the evening.

However, a number of people did raise questions and concerns, with several giving private rather than public testimony and others preparing written statements for submission.

DOT Project Manager Natasha Gwidt did emphasize that written comments can still be submitted to the department by next Jan. 10, either by mail, email or through the DOT website.

The plan is to upgrade State 23 from an expressway to a freeway between State 32 at Sheboygan Falls and County P in Plymouth.

Gwidt stressed that the plan is still far in the future. “Right now we have no project, right now we have no construction schedule, right now we have no money for the project. We’re looking 20 years down the road,” she said.

The plan calls for closing all at-grade crossings along the 10-plus mile stretch of roadway. A new interchange would be constructed at County T (which would be relocated slightly to the west) in the Sheboygan Falls to join existing interchanges at State 32, 57 and 67.

In addition, there would be an overpass/underpass at County E and Willow Road. All other roads that currently cross State 23 would be closed off at either or both sides of the highway.

While Gwidt explained that the freeway project is designed to address safety concerns along State 23 and improve east-west traffic flow, a number of those in the audience raised concerns over the impact on local traffic.

Plymouth resident Ed Ardell predicted that allowing access on and off State 23 only at State 57 and 67 north of Plymouth would create greater traffic congestion during major events like the Sheboygan County Fair.

Ardell also predicted increased traffic congestion generated by Johnsonville Foods employees and trucks that would no longer be able to enter State 23 at County M.

Gwidt said that freeway guidelines require a minimum distance of one mile between interchanges in urban areas and two miles in rural areas.

“We don’t quite have the urban population in the city of Plymouth to justify three interchanges,” Gwidt stated. “I know that’s doubtful if you live there, but that’s just the case.”

At current costs, the estimated total for the entire project would be around $52.5 million, Gwidt said.

The proposal is divided into three segments – from County P to State 67, from State 67 to State 57, and from State 57 to State 32. Gwidt said the work in each segment could be done in phases over a number of years.

Once the public comment period closes, the DOT will record the mapping with the county and mail copies of the recorded document to potentially affected residents and landowners.

Gwidt said the mapping would enable the DOT to monitor any construction or development along the proposed future rights-of-way.


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