Town of Gibraltar unveils highway resurfacing plans

The Town of Gibraltar will see a resurfacing project take hold of Hwy. 42 starting in the winter of 2016. The project is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to resurface a significant portion of the highway between Egg Harbor and Sister Bay in the next three to four years.

At the town board meeting on Jan. 7, the board and community members heard from Jeremy Ashauer, a representative of the DOT, about the department’s ideas on the project. The resurfacing will focus on the stretch of road north of downtown Fish Creek and near Gibraltar Area Schools.

The town primarily discussed the creation of a sidewalk extending up the hill near Gibraltar Grill to the YMCA. The DOT and the town board hopes this will make the area safer for students as well as increasing accessibility to the Top of the Hill Shops and Door Community Auditorium.

The creation of a sidewalk is not entirely under the DOT’s budget, forcing the Town of Gibraltar to foot 20 percent of the bill. This brought discussion on how extensive the sidewalks will be. A sidewalk on the north and west sides of Hwy. 42 will cost the town an estimated $55,000 while a sidewalk on the opposite side of the road extending up to the YMCA will cost the town an additional $50,000. Regarding the sidewalk on the south and eastern side of Hwy. 42, the town has the option of shortening the sidewalk to end at Gibraltar Road or across the street from the Door Community Auditorium, both reducing the cost of the project for the town.

In further making the area safer for pedestrian use, the DOT plans to place a pedestrian crosswalk across Hwy. 42 at the exit of the Door Community Auditorium. The crosswalk would include a median between the two lanes of opposing traffic, allowing for pedestrians to stop and check for oncoming cars before crossing each lane of the highway. The crosswalk would connect the sidewalks on either side of the highway should the town be willing to pay for both sidewalks.

Ashauer detailed other ideas the DOT had to increase pedestrian safety, including street lights, moving tree lines to improve line of sight and shaving down the hill near the intersection to County Line F to increase visibility of oncoming vehicles. The town board members and the public in attendance brought suggestions such as burying the power lines, reconfiguring the intersection of Hwy. 42 and County Road F, linking adjacent homes and businesses to the roadside sewer system and leveling off the beach parking lot to prevent highway runoff from contaminating the Fish Creek beach.

Ashauer explained that most of these suggestions do not fall under the authority of a resurfacing project and the town would be paying the entire expense. If the project was upgraded to a reconstruction instead of a resurfacing, then much of what the town suggested would be subsidized by the DOT, but Ashauer explained that is unlikely to happen. Resurfacing projects typically happen every 20 years while reconstruction projects often occur once every 75 years.