Trustees discuss rerouting Silver Spring
This rendering depicts the concept for rerouting Silver Spring. Photo by: Submitted Photo
Village of Sussex — It appears there may be a consensus developing among village trustees to construct a new and reconfigured intersection of Main Street and Silver Spring Drive by rerouting Silver Spring Drive as it approaches the downtown business district between Waukesha Avenue (Highway 74) and Main Street.
Some village officials believe that rerouting Silver Spring Drive and eliminating the iconic triangle intersection with Main Street will not only improve traffic flow through the village but will also create new downtown retail and commercial development opportunities.
The remaining existing section of Silver Spring Drive would continue to be maintained and provide access to the new road.
However, the concept, which was first discussed at public hearings in 2011, has been opposed by some downtown business owners and residents who suggested it would result in traffic moving too quickly through the central part of the village.
While some trustees at a Village Board meeting last week expressed support for the idea, there was no agreement on when the project might be undertaken or how it would be funded.
The trustees instructed the staff to include the project in the village's long-range capitol improvement plan at an estimated cost of about $1.5 million. The trustees said they plan to discuss the proposal again as plans for the reconstruction of Main Street are more complete and cost estimates more accurate.
The proposal calls for Silver Spring Drive to begin to curve west and north of its intersection with Waukesha Avenue, through undeveloped farmland, and connect with Main Street at the Orchard Drive intersection near Associated Bank and the Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
The proposal is included in preliminary plans for the reconstruction of Main Street, a project scheduled to begin in 2018 at a minimum cost of about $8 to $10 million, not including the additional cost of rerouting Silver Spring.
The Main Street reconstruction plans presently call for the triangle on Main and Silver Spring to be replaced with a more conventional T-intersection.
The new intersection could be constructed as an interim solution until the trustees decided whether to reroute Silver Spring, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Trustees Jason Wagner, Tim Dietrich and Matt Cmeyla appeared to support rerouting Silver Spring as a long-term future project for the village.
Wagner raised the possibility of creating a Tax Increment Financing District that would include both the old and new Silver Spring roads. He suggested the real estate tax revenues from new economic development along the two roads could help pay off loans to pay for rerouting the road.
Dietrich suggested rerouting Silver Spring and eliminating the triangle would improve traffic flow and make conditions safer for hikers and bikers using the Bug Line Recreations Trail.
"We are looking at 50 years into the future," Dietrich said,
"Right now, that is a tough corner particularly for anybody trying to make a left-hand turn. Traffic moves through there pretty fast, and there is not much room," he added.
"I agree there is a huge opportunity. It could become a new business district," added Cmeyla.
However, Village President Greg Goetz expressed concerns about the cost of the project and emphasized he did not want the rerouting of Silver Spring to overshadow the reconstruction of Main Street
"It is a lot of money and it is not the end of the rainbow. If Silver Spring were so bad that it need a complete reconstructions then maybe this would be answer," Goetz said
"Our main focus should be Main Street and to make sure it looks just as good 50 years from now as it was when we rebuilt it," he added.
"We ought to keep it (Silver Spring Drive) on life support, but our priorities are going to be on Main Street," added Trustee Bob Zarzynski.
"We need to keep it alive. We almost have to lay it out as a potential phase two for Main Street," said Trustee Pat Tetzlaff .
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