Greenfield — The state Department of Transportation's preferred plan for reconstructing Highway 100 from Greenfield to Franklin calls for the relocation of several buildings.
Most of the trouble spots will be in Hales Corners, where businesses along 108th Street are situated close to where the road will be widened in spots, though the overall project scheduled to begin in 2014 would impact all who use Highway 100, including Greenfield residents.
The DOT unveiled its latest plans to the public at an informational meeting Sept. 30 at Hales Corners Plaza, 5301 S. 108th St. Reconstruction of the road isn't scheduled to begin until 2014.
In Greenfield, the 5.3-mile project work would encompass the area from Layton Avenue south past the Interstate 43 overpass to the city's southern limits. Right of way acquisition has not been a hot topic in that neighborhood, to date.
Problems to the south
But in Hales Corners, the work could more directly impact businesses - including a historic one.
The Bosch restaurant, 5871 S. 108th St., has been a Hales Corners landmark since the late 1800s. But since the DOT began formulating plans a few years ago to widen Highway 100 in some places, the future of the iconic restaurant has come under question as the department studied reconstructing the Janesville Road, Forest Home Avenue and 108th Street intersection.
If it comes to it, the restaurant will probably move to a spot near its current location, owner Rick Putlitz said. Putlitz said he would move it to a few parcels he owns just to the north of the Bosch.
There are still many variables left to be decided - the primary one being the DOT's appraisal of the Bosch property, Putlitz said. If plans go forward, the DOT would acquire the Bosch restaurant, two homes and four other businesses.
"It all boils down to how the appraisals come through," Putlitz said.
From the DOT's perspective, the restaurant's historical status presents unique issues that need to be worked out, project manager Vida Shaffer said.
Bosch will soon be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, Shaffer said. Putlitz said the restaurant has already been deemed historic by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
"We kind of handle Bosch as a special property," Shaffer said. "Since it's historic, we're going to start consultation with the property owner and with the state historical preservation office to find out what is a good plan for Bosch.
"Our intent is to try to move the building."
Village President Robert Ruesch hopes it doesn't come to that.
Ruesch was sharply critical of most of the DOT's plan for Highway 100 in Hales Corners, saying it would be a tremendous loss for the village's tax base and erase efforts to redevelop its most important commercial corridor.
The DOT has a responsibility to preserve as much of the Bosch area as possible, Ruesch said, noting the historical significance of not only the restaurant, but the other businesses and houses that would be taken out.
"The state is also proposing a roundabout as part of the reconstruction of the Janesville, Forest Home and 108th Street interchange.
The total area under consideration is from Puetz Road in Franklin to Layton Avenue in Greenfield. The southern end of the project would be done first in 2014, according to a DOT timetable.
An extra lane would be added to the highway in certain places under the department's preferred alternative. In addition to the expansion from six lanes to eight near the Bosch, the road would go from four lanes to six from Drexel Avenue to north of Rawson.
The state will first replace the Highway 100 bridges over Rawson Avenue in 2011, which will be done regardless of how the rest of the project pans out, DOT spokesman Dennis Shook said.
The DOT is proposing widening Highway 100 because of traffic congestion that will only get worse over the next two decades, Shook said. Traffic is expected to grow up to 150 percent by 2033, according to the DOT.
The state says injury crash rates along this stretch of Highway 100 are nearly twice the norm for this type of road.
The DOT may hold a public hearing on the project next winter or spring and will complete an environmental study this fall.
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