Dissatisfied with steepness of driveway approaches, Village Board orders raising of grade on road project
The reconstruction of Fredonia Avenue hit a major obstacle last week, when the Village Board ordered that the roadway grade be raised between Wilson Street and the Fredonia Government Center.
Even though the change is expected to cost $68,000 and could cause a delay in the completion of the road project, the decision was lauded by a roomful of residents at the board meeting who live along the road.
Those property owners saw that newly installed driveway approaches were going to make for steep climbs to their homes.
That realization came quickly to Village President Don Dohrwardt, as well.
“When I saw the changes that were made and the driveway approaches put in along the road, I knew something was wrong,” Dohrwardt said.
The problem came when the engineering firm overseeing the reconstruction of the road, Ayers Associates, altered the design between the 60% and 90% plan level after noticing a potential drainage problem along the 500-foot stretch of roadway.
The earlier plan called for the road level to be left at its current level.
In reviewing the design, the engineering firm felt there were several areas where stormwater could be trapped between existing homes and the new sidewalk. There were also driveways that would direct stormwater onto private property and into garages, the engineering report said.
“To eliminate the drainage issues both behind the sidewalk and with the driveways, the centerline profile was lowered until a cross-section was created that more closely matches the existing sidewalk,” a memo from Ayers noted.
According to the contractor, Michels Corp., 15 homes are affected by the steeper grades.
Officials said the engineering firm’s decision to implement design changes without pointing them out to the village staff was unacceptable.
To address the unwanted road design change, the village was offered two options — cutting back on the newly installed driveway approaches at an estimated cost of $24,000; or removing the new concrete work and raising the roadbed at a cost of $69,000.
Village officials were not happy about having to pay more to have the road done correctly, but they weren’t willing to choose the cheaper option for a road that is expected to be in service for decades.
Trustee Jill Bertram was critical of the decision to change the parameters of the road design without getting specific authorization from the village.
“It went from what was a small problem to a large mistake,” Bertram said.
Dohrwardt urged the board to back reworking the road, even though it would cost the village more money.
“I’ll be unhappy for years and years if we put the road in wrong. I will be unhappy for a short while if we end up paying a little more,” he said.
“I want a road we can use for 50 to 100 years. It is probably going to cost us, but I think it will be worth it to get the street we should have.”
The village is sharing the cost of the $1.2 million road project with Ozaukee County, because Fredonia Avenue is also a county highway.
However, Public Works Director Roger Strohm said the county could refuse to authorize altering the road profile — which officials presumed would mean the total cost would be the village’s responsibility.
Trustees voted unanimously to approve the more costly approach to correcting the design issue.
A special meeting of the board was scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 23, to approve the change order and revise the memorandum of understanding with the county that governs the road project.