State denies Marathon request
By Ross Pattermann
Marathon City village administrator Andy Kurtz told the board during its monthly meeting last week Wednesday the DOT has denied a request for traffic lights at the intersection of STH 107, Maratech Ave. and Weisenberger Road for a third time. Kurtz told the board Krautkramer Road construction is still scheduled for this spring, but based on the recent denial, the road will be reopened for general traffic upon completion.
“The DOT did not fulfill its commitment, so we are going to withdraw our commitment to keep that road closed,” Kurtz said.
This development runs counter to the original scenario, which was to keep the traffic away from Krautkramer Road, and funnel it towards MaraTech Ave., but Kurtz said that without stop lights, the village needs to prevent traffic jams and the potential for accidents.
“Based on the fact that the DOT is not going to give us stop lights, we were concerned with the traffic going there . . so by opening that up it will take half the traffic out of that intersection and put it further down the road.”
Kurtz said the DOT denied the use of traffic lights because it felt that the volume of traffic was not high enough to consti- tute a need for them, something Kurtz vehemently disagreed with.
“They told me it doesn’t hit their number for volume of traffi c,” Kurtz said in a phone interview. “I told them ‘look at the dynamic’ - but they wouldn’t flex from their rigid position.”
Kurtz said rather than use volume of traffic to approve the use of traffic lights, the DOT should account for the type of traffic the highway receives--namely the use of heavy commercial vehicles and semis that travel up and down the highway every day.
Kurtz also noted other large companies within the area also make daily use of the highway, sending semis carrying loads of concrete, lumber and rock aggregate all along that corridor.
Kurtz said additional traffic occurs during the school year from buses carrying students to and from sporting events or to their homes in the evenings, as well as traffic from people who frequent Subway and McDonalds, which are both located along MaraTech Ave.
“All of our reasons for closing that road and re-directing traffic are still legitimate,” Kurtz said during Wednesday’s meeting. “The DOT refuses to accept the fact, that even though it doesn’t hit their number, [traffic lights] is actually the best solution.”
Kurtz said he felt that without traffic lights at the busy intersection, it was only a matter of time before an accident does occur, but that an accident shouldn’t be the event that moves the needle on this issue.
“People need to continue to be vigilant and aware. As much as people don’t want to, you need to drive slow,” Kurt advised. “We’ve been fortunate that in the past there’s been no major accidents . . . but that shouldn’t be the criteria that forces a change.”
In other village board business:
_ The board approved a motion allowing the village to secure a bid to raze a structure on 704 Sixth Street.
_ The village board declined the offer of a free gazebo.