October 22, 2008

Burlington bypass opening Thursday

Paul Sloth from the JT reports on the new Burlington bypass opening Thursday. The $50 million project, which is the eastern portion of the bypass, was completed three weeks early. Work on the western portion of the bypass is underway, will cost $100 million and is scheduled to be complete in 2010.

As for the finished project, it's expected to make a significant change to Burlington:
Burlington officials have done what they can to prepare for the opening of the new bypass, which is intended to improve congestion in the city, said City Administrator Kevin Lahner.

The impact on the city, in terms of needed changes, will be minimal, Lahner said, since the majority of the bypass lies outside of the city limits.

“Hopefully, the traffic will be less. The benefit to the city is, it is supposed to reduce traffic by 30 percent when the whole thing is done,” Lahner said. “A significant portion of it is supposed to be large trucks and large trucks have been a problem. The biggest benefit is getting the trucks off our streets downtown.”

While there might be a need for some minor changes in the future, the majority of the work the city has done has been in preparation for the bypass, including turning one-way streets into two-way streets, Lahner said.
For local media wonks out there, Sloth is the JT's new Burlington reporter. He moves west after covering the Racine Unified School Board in recent years. New reporter John Dobberstein takes over the challenging school beat.

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