If you're coming to Door County over the next month, plan on the trip taking a bit longer. If you live here, you already know. The good news is we were warned.
The Department of Transportation gave us plenty of notice that the Bayview Bridge, which for 35 years has carried the tourist traffic around the city of Sturgeon Bay, would be closed for a rehab that will continue until just before Independence Day. Until the Fourth of July, we get to relive the halcyon days when the mile-long line approaching the Michigan Street Bridge was part of the rite of passage onto the Peninsula. May as well grin and bear it.
Next year, it's Sister Bay's turn. There's been talk for more than a year about the reconstruction of Wisconsin 42 through the village, a huge project scheduled for July 2014 through June 2015. Now is the time to hear the details and start bracing.
The DOT has set an informational meeting for 5:30-7 p.m. May 29 at the Sister Bay Fire Station, 2285 Mill Road. A short presentation is planned for 5:45 p.m. They're planning an open-house format, and DOT staff has issued a special request for "persons with knowledge about historic buildings, archaeological sites, septic systems, drain tiles, or drainage problems near the project" to come talk to them about any potential issues.
How huge is this 12-month project? Here's their to-do list:
? Reconstructing Wisconsin 42 from Country Walk Drive to Scandia Road.
? Lowering the roadway from Sister Bluff Drive to Bluffside Lane to improve sight distance.
? Realigning the Wisconsin 57 and Gateway Drive intersections to improve sight distance and intersection angles.
? Addition of curb and gutter with storm sewer from Country Walk Drive to Bluffside Lane.
? Extension of sidewalks on Wisconsin 42 from Country Walk Drive to Bluffside Lane and Wisconsin 57 to Canterbury Lane.
? Increased width of roadway to accommodate a shared-drive lane and bicycle lane.
? Replace storm sewer and improve drainage throughout the project.
? Address storm water runoff from Bluffside Lane to Mill Road
At the meeting they'll also identify a few spots where the state plans to purchase "additional right of way and temporary limited easements" to accommodate the widening and redirection of the road.
Project managers are staging the project to minimize the impact and maintain access to businesses and homes, and there's a list of further assurances:
? At no time will both 42 and 57 be closed at the same time.
? Wisconsin 42 traffic will remain open to one lane each direction in summer months (June-August).
? Both highways will be open for Fall Fest 2014 weekend.
? Wisconsin 42 will be open to northbound traffic only from Fall Fest 2014 weekend to Memorial Day weekend. A regional detour will be posted by WisDOT while the village will post local detour routes.
? Wisconsin 42 traffic will be open to one lane in each direction prior to Memorial Day 2015.
To see the maps and get all of the gruesome details, be at the Fire Station next Wednesday. There's the additional advice that "Persons who are unable to attend the meeting can make their comments by contacting WisDOT Project Manager Jeremy Ashauer at 944 Vanderperren Way, Green Bay, WI 54304; (920) 492-4165 or by email at Jeremy.Ashauer@dot.wi.gov."
The Bayview Bridge project is moving along so well that they're now aiming to reopen the roadway on June 28, the weekend before July 4. Let's hope Sister Bay goes just as smoothly.