The Deerfield Village Board is continuing to push for interim fixes and a reinstated original timeline for the reconstruction of State Highway 73 through the village.
The board agreed Nov. 11 to a suggestion by member Gary Wieczorek, to write letters to officials at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and potentially to state legislative representative and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, asking that the highway work be moved back to its original date of 2021, rather 2023 where it’s evolved to.
And Wieczorek said he’d like to ask in the letter that the entire stretch of highway through the village, which includes Deerfield’s historic Main Street, be milled and overlaid in the interim rather than just the most deteriorated stretches, as is the DOT’s current plan.
Wieczorek said he would bring back a draft letter for the board’s review in December.
On the interim fixes, the board has been reacting to a visit from a DOT official on Oct. 28. John Marchewka, a roadway operations engineer for the DOT, who works with Dane, Jefferson and Dodge Counties on their transportation budgets, said that the state agency had no more money to make repairs to the highway through Deerfield in 2019 and gave no guarantees that those would even happen in 2020.
“Maybe this spring or summer we could come back and look at some areas possibly, knowing that we’ve got to try and get you guys through til ‘23,’” Marchewka told the Village Board on Oct. 28.
“I do not feel like we’re being properly listened to by the Department of Transportation,” Wieczorek said on Nov. 11. “I think we’re being put off, placated.”
Village Board members on Nov. 11 specifically questioned the explanation being given by the DOT, that the process of land purchases along Main Street to allow for larger disabled-access curb cuts, delayed the project for two years. “Those are small easements,” Wieczorek said.
“I think that’s a poor excuse,” Village Board member Arnold Evensen agreed.
The Village Board also questioned why the work through the village can’t be done in 2021 in tandem with the reconstruction of State Highway 73 northward from Deerfield to Marshall, which is scheduled for that year.
The Village Board invited the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce to sign the letters, as they said the delay in the road’s reconstruction has a direct effect on local business vitality.
“I think it needs to come from all of us,” Wieczorek said. “We need to get in front of this.”
Village Board member Scott Tebon agreed that the DOT hasn’t been responsive enough and said he likes the idea of a letter “signed collectively,” by local elected officials and Chamber members.
“We’ll back you fully; we’re totally with you,” responded longtime local Realtor David Dinkel, one of several Chamber members in attendance at the Nov. 11 meeting.
Board members were also in favor of including an article in an annual newsletter going out to village property owners this winter, with an update on the situation.