New highway complex something to be proud of

A GOOD HIGHWAY SYSTEM is vital to any community and Sheboygan County is no different.

Providing and maintaining that highway system is a major charge and challenge for any government.

A major step by Sheboygan County to ensure that local roads stay as good as we need them was dedicated last Friday.

Close to 800 people turned out for the dedication and open house of the county’s new $23.1 million transportation facility at State 67 and County J in the town of Plymouth.

It is a massive facility, with 163,000 square feet of space in several buildings on a 36-acre parcel.

That size serves as a good metaphor for the importance of the new facility’s mission – keeping the roads we drive on, that the goods we need are delivered on, safe and secure.

Those who toured the complex during the open house that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony got a sense of its size and scope.

It takes a lot to keep our roads in the best shape and it takes a lot to house all the equipment and support they need.

For instance, if it snows just two or three inches, the county Highway Department sends out 45 plows to clear roads. If the snow reaches six inches, another 12 graders join the plowing fleet and a blizzard brings out an additional 13 Oshkosh trucks, two snow blowers and a plow on a loader. That’s a lot of necessary equipment that needs to be stored, maintained and repaired when needed.

The new complex should serve the county for the next 75 to

100 years – meeting needs long after most of all us today are gone from here.

The cost was large, at $23.1 million, but county officials, led by Transportation Director Greg Schnell and the County Board Transportation Committee, did their due diligence in planning the construction and financing of the project, which paid off in the long run.

It was a major investment, but as business and industry officials know, a large initial investment is often needed to return savings many times the initial cost over the life of the facility.

The location of the complex allows it to tie into existing water and sanitary sewer systems at the county’s health care facility, Rocky Knoll, located just across State 67 – a wise cost-saving feature that also lessens the impact on rural neighbors in the town of Plymouth.

General contractor Quasius Construction did a magnificent job of coordinating the more than three dozen subcontractors and suppliers involved in the project and, best of all, was able to bring it all in under the original budgeted cost of nearly $25 million, despite weather delays and other issues.

As Matt Quasius, president of Quasius Construction, commented at the ribbon cutting, “It’s not like you get to do this type of project in your own backyard every day.”

This one will stand for many years as a testament to the vision of county leaders and to the good work of so many local builders and tradespeople. And it will stand for many years as the linchpin of keeping the roads we all rely on each and every day safe and secure.

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