Town of Peshtigo residents looked over project maps for work to be done on County Trunk BB starting this summer and fall. Changes including making the road wider and adding ditches. The estimated cost of the project has doubled to about $3.5 million. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
Town of Peshtigo residents looked over project maps for work to be done on County Trunk BB starting this summer and fall. Changes including making the road wider and adding ditches. The estimated cost of the project has doubled to about $3.5 million. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
TOWN OF PESHTIGO - Rising costs, questions about the need for drainage and general dissatisfaction with changing plans drew more than 125 residents to Little River Country Club Wednesday night. At issue are plans for reconditioning County Trunk BB in the town of Peshtigo.

The public meeting was led by Marinette County Highway Commissioner Ray Palonen and engineer Mark Schuster from Robert E. Lee & Associates Inc. of Hobart, Wis., the engineering firm hired to design the 5.7-mile stretch between Pond Road and University Drive.

"Currently it's 22 feet wide. The proposed cross section will have 22 feet of pavement with 3-foot paved shoulders on each side with a 1-foot gravel shoulder on each side as well," explained Palonen. "The project will be re-ditched from one end to the other on both sides of the highway."

The expansion would take place on county owned right of way with the road being elevated an average of 6 inches. Plans calls for the road to be closed to through traffic but open to residents, emergency and service vehicles. Culverts would be added to many of the driveways and wider shoulders would serve as a safety feature for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project is expected to begin this summer and fall with utilities being moved. Completion is expected in the summer of 2014. The cost of improvements were originally estimated at about $1 to $1.5 million but that figure has now climbed to $3 to $3.5 million and would be paid for entirely by the county from the general fund.

Following a 15-minute presentation, the floor was opened to questions and comments. Resident Grant Schultz drew applause when he questioned where the project was headed.

"What we see is a $2-million cost increase for drainage. We don't have a drainage issue," he said. "We don't want to pay $2 million more money for this road. It makes no sense whatsoever. You can't convince me."

Many other long-time residents along the road agreed, saying in all their years, they've never seen the ditches filled with water because of the type of sandy soil below the surface.

Francis Boyle explained how the county has been flip-flopping on the issue of ditches and culverts since he moved out there in 1965. He related how the area in front of his home has been changed back and forth several times.

"They eliminated some of the ditches, they eliminated some of the culverts. They put a culvert under both my driveways at that time. They came back about three years later and filled in the ditch, both sides of the road. We don't need culverts on both sides of the road on Shore Drive."

Boyle said the county then came back a year or two ago and dug out all the dirt that had been put in and said he needed to put a culvert in.

"From 1965 to this day, I've never seen water flow into that ditch," he said. "We do not need culverts on this road and anyone who says we do, they're wasting taxpayers' money."

The meeting was informational in nature and no action was taken. In addition to comments at the meeting, residents were invited to submit written comments to the engineering firm by mailing them to: Mark Schuster, Robert E. Lee & Associates, 4664 Golden Park Court, Hobart, Wis., 54155.