City will put Business 51 back in crosshairs, eventually
City of Stevens Point officials said the Business 51/Division Street improvement project needs to be brought back into focus sometime in the near future during the Stevens Point Board of Public Works meeting Monday, July 11. Officials also said they have no plans in the works for the project and most likely won’t for at least two years.
“This is not a project that is in the works, there is no plan to do anything with this for at least a couple of years, but I want to make sure everyone stays up to speed on this, and we keep discussion lines open,” said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza.
“I just have a handful of talking points for tonight (July 11), and we can continue this discussion at a later date. There’s been questions about this from a handful of alderpersons for some time, and as we start to begin a new budget cycle, the question of where Business 51 fits into the city’s long-range plan has also been brought up,” said Director of Public Works Scott Schatschneider. “There’s no harm in discussing this project, especially a capital project of this size and magnitude.”
Schatschneider said the Business 51 has been on the horizon since the early 2000s, and it became an official project in 2012.
“WisDOT (Wisconsin Department of Transportation) gave the city two separate payments totaling $6 million, and those dollars were to be used for resurfacing. Those dollars weren’t meant to be used for full-scale restructuring. It was strictly cosmetic,” Schatschneider said.
“In 2012, the Business 51 corridor became a project, and different alternatives were vetted. There were a number of questions and concerns regarding the proposed alternatives, so much so the project was shelved and all available funding was transferred to the (Hoover Road) grade separation project,” Schatschneider said. “We are now seven months away from starting the grade separation project and once that’s finished, our community’s attention will again fall to the Business 51 corridor.”
“That’s really all we’re doing. We’re going to keep those communication lines open. I don’t think it’s prudent to do anything (on Business 51) until we see how traffic flow is affected by the Hoover grade separation project,” said Wiza.
Wiza said he is very confident the grade separation will change how much traffic uses Business 51 to get to and from the south side of the city. Waiting until those results are able to be measured is prudent.
The city has no formal plans to put the item on its agenda in the near future.