It could be another three years before a major project to widen Thomas Street in Wausau gets underway.
In the meantime, the Department of Public Works will begin resurfacing Thomas from the bridge over the Wisconsin River to 17th Avenue. The road project will cost around $107,000 and will come from the Department of Public Works' budget.
City Council member, Sherry Abitz said it's becoming too dangerous for DPW to continually fill pot holes.
She said more than 1,000 vehicles travel the road daily. Arbitz said the proposed “skin patch” repairs will last one-and-half to three years. Arbitz said her fear is that instead of moving forward with the Thomas Street project in 2017, the committee will just consider another “skin patch” fix.
Arbitz said she voted 'no' to the temporary fix; citing she believes it's only a reason to delay the lane expansion project.
In 2012, the city of Wausau lost federal funding for the project because the city failed to appraise 10 home before buying them. At the time, a spokesperson for the Federal Highway Administration told NewsChannel 7 they will monitor the use of Federal Funds by the city until 2015. Wausau was also banned from receiving any Federal funding for the project.
She said people who live on Thomas are not able to sell their homes because no one is going to buy a home knowing that it could be demolished in three years. She also said there is also no incentive for those homeowners to remodel or make improvements.
She said the future expansion plans for Thomas Street would raze the homes on the southside of Thomas from 17th Avenue to 12th Avenue; rotating to the northside to raze homes from 12th Avenue to 3rd Avenue and after the curve near Cleveland Avenue back to demolishing the homes on the northside of the road. She said they cannot focus on just one side of Thomas Street due to contaminated property from the old Crestline lot on the northside of Thomas, and historical properties such as a church and the old fire station on the southside.
Abitz said a there will be a meeting in June to pinpoint a specific start date for the newest project. She said it mainly depends on DPW's schedule.
Arbitz said she believes it has been 15-20 years since any major work has been done to the highly traveled street. She said the life for asphalt road projects typically is 11 years.
The process to begin the expansion of Thomas Street is slated to begin in 2017; with completion that same year.
Around 90 properties will be affected by the expansion.
Tuesday, NewsChannel 7 placed calls to all five members of the Wausau Capital Improvements and Street Maintenance Committee. Only Arbitz returned our call.
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