Mornings will be starting earlier for students and staff at Gibraltar Area Schools when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation begins reconstruction of Highway 42 in March.
The school is only accessible by the highway, which means special accommodations will need to be made for buses and parents dropping off students, as well as staff and students who drive to the school.
Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer said the school is in the early stages of planning for the disruption.
“We are still working with WisDOT on bus transport routes,” Van Meer said. “There are some concerns that bus routes may take more time to complete. If so, the District may have to adjust drop-off and pick-up times. We will notify our families if bus route times change during the project.”
From March through early May there will be no vehicle traffic allowed from the entrance of Peninsula State Park to the pedestrian crossing near the YMCA. Access to the school will be limited to a single paved portion of the highway connecting the school entrance to Gibraltar Road. That means students coming from Egg Harbor and Fish Creek residencies could see their commutes to school extended by 10 to 15 minutes, while those coming from north of Fish Creek could be delayed 5 to 10 minutes.
There could be further delays as drivers adjust to all traffic entering the school from one direction.
“There will also be times when the entrance and exit to the school and parking lot will be limited to a single lane,” Van Meer said. “Parents and students should expect delays and slower traffic around the school.”
The school has worked with the DOT to arrange for buses to use the existing turnaround, but that will be for buses only.
The school has not yet decided if there will be any restrictions on students driving to school during construction. More details will be communicated to families when construction plans are finalized.
The Gibraltar community won’t be the only ones impacted. Athletic Director Peggy Tanck will be tasked with communicating detours and timetables regarding transportation to athletic events hosted by Gibraltar. Spring sports include baseball, softball, and Track and Field.
Why DOT Chose Cty E for Detour
Fish Creek business owners are wondering why the DOT chose to begin the official highway detour during next spring’s reconstruction all the way south in the Village of Egg Harbor.
The primary detour during construction from March to June of 2019 will take drivers east on County E to County A, where they will continue north around Fish Creek. DOT project manager Jeremy Ashauer said the route was chosen for safety and speed.
“County E has wider shoulders which improves safety with more available width for vehicles to travel and maneuver in the event of a conflict,” he said. “Secondly, County E is more direct whereas County EE has large sweeping curves that decrease safety and add time to the detour route.”
Drivers will not be forced to take that route, but that will be the primary signed detour. Other possibilities included Juddville Road and Peninsula Players Road, but neither of those were built to handle highway traffic loads and neither has significant shoulders.