East Farmington intersection improvement project at a standstill

by Kelly J. Larson | The Osceola Sun | January 2014

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The project to improve the safety of the intersection at 30th Ave. and 280th St. in East Farmington has come to a halt. According to the town board at the Feb. 3 meeting, the original plan to lower the hill needs to be altered in order to do the job correctly. This has raised concerns of affordability and liability, and the board must now determine if it can, and should, walk away.

“We want to lower the hill down further,” Dennis Cottor, chairman of the board, said. “Right now you’re going to crest the hill and come down onto 280th. We believe as a board that we didn’t solve the problem. We improved on it but we didn’t solve it. And if we’re not going to solve it, maybe it’s best left alone.”

The town has already been approved for a $102,000 grant from the state of Wisconsin and would have spent $106,000 of its own budget on the original project. Altering the plan will cost the town an estimated $8,000 more in engineering expenses, plus additional construction costs.

“If we’re going to change this to do it right, I’m estimating $30,000–$40,000 more,” Cottor said.

Safety is the main concern at this intersection. Cars going in the ditch and “near misses” prompted the board to take action in the first place. If the board decides to discontinue the plan to modify the intersection because the cost has become too high, liability is a concern since the state has been made aware of the issue with the grant approval.

“We’re going to have another opinion of this done to find out where Farmington’s liability stands on this intersection,” Cottor said. “If we don’t have any liability to this, the consensus of the board is to walk away.”

Community members weighed in on the discussion at the meeting. Suggestions to improve the intersection without implementing the board’s construction project included widening the shoulders, increasing signage and placing guardrails.

The board will make a decision regarding the continuation of the construction project at the next board meeting.

Other items discussed at the Feb. 3 meeting included offering a bid for a new mower for the town, rental rates for equipment and the possibility of issuing a mailbox ordinance on new building permits to avoid snow removal problems.

The next board meeting is March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Town of Farmington town hall.

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