Preliminary designs started for Donges Bay project in Germantown

Village asking for residents' input to help with the design

March 4, 2013

Germantown - Come 2015, more than a mile of Donges Bay Road in Germantown will be a smoother trip for travelers.

Last week, the village of Germantown hosted an informational meeting to gather public opinion on the design of more than a mile of roadway on Donges Bay Road from Division Road to Magnolia Drive. With oversight from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the village has contracted with R.A. Smith National to develop roadway design improvements.

Residents were shown preliminary design options - an urban option with gutters separating the grass from the roadway and a rural option with a wider shoulder but a ditch instead of a curb and gutter. The total preliminary estimate is more than $2 million, split 80/20 between federal and village dollars. The village would be responsible for 20 percent, Director of Public Works Dan Ludwig said. Each design includes a sidewalk away from the road and keeps Donges Bay a two-lane road.

"There are some preferences residentially, so that's what we're waiting for," Ludwig said. "One is 24-feet-wide with 0- to 3-foot shoulders - the rural section - with not only 24-feet of travel lanes, but another 10 feet of paved shoulders for bicycle traveling and for emergency traffic to pull over so that pushes your ditch out and then you need sidewalks to do be compliant with federal requirements, so there is an encroachment into the front yards and that's what people have to understand is in sections, things get wider."

There would be less encroachment with the urban option, which would add curb and gutters.

Input helps form final design

The design process takes between two to three years. The driving force of the project is to fix the heavily deteriorated roadway, as well as address crashes at the intersection of Pilgrim Road and Donges Bay, said John Elkin, consultant project manager from R.A. Smith National.

He said the hope of the information meeting was to hear what issues residents have with the current roadway, so R.A. Smith can consider that as they move forward with the design.

"We're looking to get their input on what they see are the problems out here, deficiencies, drainage issues, safety issues, crashes, the need for more complete pedestrian and bicycle facilities and what they want the road to look like," Elkin said. "We will take that into consideration as we move forward and evaluate alternatives."

Germantown resident Robert Schmal who lives along Donges Bay would like to see a safer walking path for children and pedestrians, having a path away from the roadway.

"People ride their bikes along the road and it can be pretty congested," Schmal said.

He also hopes the project addresses current drainage issues on the roadway, saying near his property the ditch is higher than the culvert, which causes flooding on his property. Drainage is one issue that this project will address no matter which option is chosen.

There will be two more public information meetings hosted on the roadway design. The preferred option will be presented at the final meeting sometime in late summer or early fall. The road design is anticipated to be complete by fall 2014, with construction slated for spring or fall of 2015.

Connecting to roundabout

Donges Bay is also the site of another road project, this one spearheaded by the DOT. A roundabout is planned for the intersection of Donges Bay Road and Fond du Lac Avenue, with construction slated for 2016 to help mitigate traffic flow problems.

The two projects are being spearheaded by different entities, however, once a design is finalized, the projects can meet in the middle.

"Since it's an adjoining project at some point we have to tie it in, but we cannot be complicit until they go through this process," said Emmanuel Yartey, project manager with the DOT, adding they took the exact same design steps for the roundabout.

"When they know what they are doing, we can bring it together."

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