Business 51 alternatives presented
Project team unveils corridor options, costs
By Taylor Hale
The public had a chance to ask questions on the recently unveiled alternatives for the Business 51 corridor during an open Zoom session with the Business 51 Project team on March 2.
Around 40 community members showed up to the first meeting. The session is one of three, with two more sessions on March 4.
The three main objectives for redesigning the roadway are to improve safety, offer more multimodal alternatives, and fix needed pavement issues.
According to a release from the city, crash rates north of Ellis Street are higher than 95 percent of similar roads in Wisconsin. The release also states that around 70 percent of the pavement in the corridor is rated as poor, with sections dating back to the 1960s.
The project team uploaded information on roadway alternatives featuring information on a two-way-left-turn lane and a four-lane roadway with a raised median.
Both options are said to be safer than the current undivided four-lane roadway, according to AECOM project manager and Business 51 Project Team Member Amy Canfield.
The two-lane option is projected around $45.3 million, with the four-lane coming in around $49.1 million.
The Fourth Avenue intersection could also see a roundabout to improve safety in the future.
Signalized options could also be placed at Fourth Avenue and other busy intersections like Maria Drive and Schofield Avenue to improve the flow of traffic. A roundabout would add $.1 million to the costs.
“The reconstruction of Business 51 is proposed to include Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) devices at signalized intersections. This technology allows emergency vehicles to control traffic signals to improve their response times and ability to navigate Business 51,” the city’s website states.
Canfield said bike lanes could be an option for the new design, but would not be a focal point of the development.
“The bike lanes would end at Monroe Street,” Canfield said. “So at Monroe Street, you would have to divert from the Business 51 Corridor and take a side street. But there are no bike lanes proposed between Monroe and Fourth Street.”
Check next week’s edition of the Portage County Gazette for a full breakdown of the roadway alternatives and an in-depth interview with the Business 51 Project Team.
More information, renderings, and example videos of Business 51 alternatives can be found at https://stevenspoint.com.