Three local governments are working together to find funding to build a new interchange on WIS 29 at County VV in Brown County. Local 5’s Kris Schuller reports those behind the plan say the interchange is badly needed on this busy section of road.
At WIS 29 and County VV, vehicles enter the highway from a dead stop. And according to Hobart’s village administrator over the last four years this at-grade intersection has seen at least 60 crashes.
“Typically, what we have are folks can’t accelerate quick enough to get into the flow of traffic or people have to slow down on WIS 29 to let slower traffic merge in,” said Aaron Kramer.
The intersection has been identified by WisDOT as a site for a new interchange, but state funding isn’t available. J-turns were added in 2013 to help traffic enter the highway, but to mixed reviews.
“I don’t know if you’d find 10 people in Hobart that would say J-turns are the cat’s meow,” Kramer said.
Now Hobart, Howard and Brown County are together applying for a federal grant to construct an interchange here.
“It has a cap of about $25 million that it can contribute to a project of this nature,” he said.
Called a BUILD grant it would provide 80 percent of the expected $35 million to $40 million cost. The money must be spent within five years. And area lawmakers like Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) are lobbying Washington to approve the funding.
“You’re going from a standing start and cars are going by you at 70 MPH, it’s quite hard to flow into it,” Sen. Cowles said.
The superintendent for the Pulaski School District says her bus drivers pick up students in Hobart but can’t use the J-turns because of safety concerns.
“We would absolutely support an interchange in that area in Hobart to provide safer transportation for our students and families,” said Bec Kurzynske.
The deadline to apply is next week and a final answer expect by December. Kramer is hopeful they’ll get good news.
“Our local lawmakers believe in this project and are willing to put some skin in the game. I ‘m confident they will carry the day,” Kramer said.
Kramer says the interchange would also open up development in both Hobart and Howard.