Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen will finish off his years in service with a $23 million U.S. Highway 2, Belknap Street reconstruction project. Stephanie King, project design lead with Wisconsin Department of Transportation, concrete cutting is scheduled to start by Monday.
For the first year, the project will focus on west and east ends of Banks to Johns Avenue and Birch Avenue to East Seventh Street. Initial work will be concentrated on the south side of the street and when completed, work will move to the north side so that at least one lane of traffic in each direction will be available while the street is undergoing construction.
According to Dave Minor, CEO and president of Chamber of Superior-Douglas County, the project was initially scheduled for 2040 but Mayor Hagen had other plans. He borrowed the worst available vehicle he could get his hands on from the city’s Public Works Department. The vehicle has no brakes, no shocks and no springs.
Mayor Hagen invited former Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb for a drive along Belknap Street. This led to the launching of Belknap Street Initiation Committee. Within 2 months the group was able to justify why there was a need for a reconstruction project. The state was impressed by their proposal that the project was immediately added to the next funding cycle.
According to Mayor Hagen, the lesson learned for future endeavours is the words I and me and have no place if you want to succeed. There are many partners who want to help for the fulfilment of the street project particularly businesses that line up the streets. Drivers as urged to be patient while construction is going on and to remember to shop local. Every business is still open including shopping malls. With construction going on, it will be tough for businesses but they will survive.
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