Residents Oppose CTH M Widening

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF WESTPORT–A group opposed to widening part of CTH M, believe the public will find it so incompatible with existing land use that it will restore interest in building the long dormant North Mendota Parkway. 

Dane County Highway Department is about halfway through a study of expanding CTH M from CTH Q to SH 113 to relieve congestion and reduce vehicle accidents.

Advocates for the North Mendota Parkway, who call themselves A4NMP, prefer that CTH M only be widen from CTH K to SH 113. They oppose widening CTH M to four lanes, adding frontage roads and an expansive median between CTH Q and CTH K. That could take land from the Bishops Bay Golf Course and other pricey property along the roadway.

Many of the 70-some in attendance at meeting last month at Bishops Bay Country Club are already fed up with the commuter congestion on CTH M.

“I hit the cars with a stick when they don’t allow me and my grandchildren to cross near the (Mendota County) Park, said a woman who declined to be identified.

Another popular remark was, “Don’t dump traffic into Middleton and University Ave. Take it away to the north,” another area resident said.

“The county wants to expand M and they’re trying to sell it. But I think they’re surprised that people don’t want what the county wants,” a man said.

A four-lane CTH M with medians and frontage roads could be as much as 170 feet wide. The Advocates fear that plan will shorten driveways and reduce access to CTH M for those living alongside it.

“We don’t see the accident data that supports frontage roads,” between CTH K and CTH Q, said Paige Doehia, an Advocate committee members

According to the county the number of vehicle crashes from 2014-18 were:

• 27 at the intersection of CTH Q and CTH M

• 31 between W. Point Rd. and Oncken Rd.

• 10 at the Oncken Rd. intersection

• 33 at the CTH K intersection

• 49 at the Woodland Dr. intersection

• 10 between Woodland Dr. and Mary Lake Rd.

• 18 at the Blue Bill Park Rd. intersection

Another 24 vehicle crashes occurred along CTH M and between Oncken and Blue Bill Park roads.

No fatal crashes occurred during the time span.

A roundabout is one of the designs the county has proposed to help traffic flow for the intersection of CTH K and CTH M, which is signalized now. Roundabouts have Advocates and detractors and a roundabout there would create access problems for North Shore Bay Rd. that enters CTH M from the east.

The Advocates aren’t impressed with the traffic projections for CTH M corridor either. According to the county, there currently are 22,600 vehicles on average using the road segment west of CTH Q, growing to 24,100 in 10 years. East of CTH K average daily traffic is current 18,500 and growing to 20,000 in 10 years.

Road expansion plans will be based on traffic projections in 2045, which presumably be even higher.

The Advocates favor improving the intersection at CTH K and upgrading CTH K west to US 12 to encourage more traffic to continue west to US 12, reducing congestion on CTH M as it extends through the Town of Westport, and the need to greatly expand CTH M there.

The North Mendota Parkway has been a gleam in the eye of some Town of Westport and county residents for decades, according to Eileen Bruskowitz, who pushed for its construction during the 12 years she was on the Dane County Board of Supervisors and from her current position on the town of Westport’s Plan Commission.

“We got the North Mendota Park plan passed (years ago) but then it died,” she said.

The proposed CTH M expansion sparked a meeting between the Advocates and the state Department of Transportation but the outcome “wasn’t promising” for the NMP, Bruskowitz said.

The county and consultants KL Engineering will schedule a meeting this fall to present updates to the expansion planning. However, no money has been secured for the project and construction wouldn’t occurred for at least several years, according to Gerry Schmitt, project manager with KL.

Schmitt and Pam Dunphy, county highway deputy commissioner, are taking comments on the expansion plan at: gschmitt@klengineering.com or dunphy@countyofdane.com

One problem with a North Mendota Parkway, Bruskowitz acknowledges, is no route has been planned. It would basically connect SH 19 northeast of Waunakee and US 12 by following the SH 113 corridor south before turning west across undesignated parts of the Town of Westport.

The Advocates want those concerned about expanding CTH M and seizing an opportunity to get the NMP back on track to contact Dunphy and County Executive Joe Parisi at: parisi@countyofdane.com, or contact them at: a4nmp.home.blog/contact/

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