Reconstruction of Omro Road in 2021
For several years, there has been discussion among staff, board members, and the public on how to proceed with making improvements to Omro Road. The primary issue facing Algoma is that it is developing at an urban density but still has rural roadways like Omro Road. When funding became available, the Town applied for Federal funding through the Oshkosh Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in 2017. The following year, Algoma was awarded a $2.5 million grant through the MPO by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The grant provides 50% of the funding for the project with the remaining $2.5 coming from a capital improvement loan. Total project cost is estimated to be close to $5.5 million. Since approximately 10% of Omro Road is within the City of Oshkosh, a Memorandum of Agreement will be signed between the Town and City to cost share for that portion of the project. Algoma is not assessing individual homeowners living or owning property along Omro Road for the costs to reconstruct the road. The final cost to all individual property owners will be determined when the final roadway design is approved in November, all the costs are considered, level of financing is determined, and what the interest rates are at that time. All municipalities in the State of Wisconsin are under levy limits and the amount of debt each can maintain. As a result, the Town Board will be very mindful of the cost of the project to property owners when making their final decisions on the amount and type of financing that is needed for the project.
Omro Road has a functional classification as a collector road and therefore eligible for this grant funding. As a collector road in an urban environment, the grant funding dictates that bike paths and sidewalks be installed as part of the project. Designated bike paths and sidewalks are also supported by the Safe Routes to School program. Curb and gutter will eliminate the steep ditches, standing water, and address flooding along the roadway. In addition, the Town of Algoma is under strict stormwater management guidelines as dictated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. To help meet the Town’s stormwater management goals, the reconstruction of Omro Road will encompass stormwater infrastructure to capture, direct, and treat stormwater prior being released into Lake Butte des Morts. Jones Detention Pond just east of the Omro Road and Leonard Point Road intersection is being constructed in 2020 to take stormwater from Omro Road and treat it before being released into Honey Creek. There are other stormwater detention pond locations being reviewed that can serve as treatment options for stormwater gathered along Omro Road. The Town’s 2018 Stormwater Management Plan outlines those goals and objectives. The Town is required to submit an annual stormwater management report to the Wisconsin DNR for their review.
The Town Board selected McMahon Associates to design the new roadway. McMahon engineers are responsible for providing a design plan where all local ordinances and state regulations are followed. Once the final design plan is approved, staff from the WisDOT are responsible for letting (awarding) the project in March 2021, as well as construction oversight and financial reporting. The reconstruction of Omro Road does not encompass any improvements to Leonard Point Road.
This is a sample cross section of this type of reconstruction and is intended to be used for reference only and is not to scale or final design.
The Town of Algoma is committed to providing safe and user friendly roadways for all commuters. While maintenance efforts such as milling and paving and ditching extend the life of a road, every road reaches a point where general maintenance is no longer feasible or cost effective and some level of reconstruction is necessary. Omro Road has reached the point where a new driving surface, improved stormwater management, and pedestrian-friendly accommodations are needed. These critical improvements are outlined in the town’s Comprehensive Plan and were also noted in multiple community surveys.
Driving and Commuting – As one of four major commuting routes within Algoma, Omro Road must provide a safe driving surface. The former state highway has a concrete base with several layers of asphalt applied on top of it. Ongoing crack sealing and the filling of potholes are no longer cost effective maintenance options. The concrete is at least 75 years old and is the primary cause for the rough driving surface. Omro Road once had a trolley line that is also buried under the roadway and helping to deteriorate the asphalt and road base.
Improvement – Removing and replacing the driving surface and shoulders will provide a long term solution to the deteriorating roadway condition. In addition, the project will involve removing all of the old trolley infrastructure that has been buried under the roadway.
Stormwater Improvements – The stormwater management techniques currently used by the Town include ditches, minor drain tiles, and limited stormwater mains. Omro Road has a fair amount of storm main that is limited in capacity and not installed in all areas. During heavy rain events, water will cascade over the road and then remain within the drive lanes causing a dangerous hydroplaning situation. Most of the properties along Omro Road experience poor drainage, as well as the neighborhoods just to the north and south of Omro Road. Steep ditches are unsafe to maintain.
Improvement – Improvements include the extension of stormwater mains, curb and gutter, sump pump laterals, and 3-4 detention ponds. Reestablishing the crown of Omro Road will help it to drain properly during and after rain and snow events. The profile of the road will be dropped two feet and the entire right of way will be terraced to eliminate the existing steep ditches and standing water. The terracing along with curb and gutter will also allow for the installation of stormwater mains that will be extended to one of the three or four proposed detention ponds.
Access Control – Intersection safety and access to private driveways are ongoing issues. Most intersections have limited sight lines, lack of consistent lighting, failing shoulders and outdated roadway design. Due to steep ditches, undersized culverts, and limited sight lines, many driveways are also in need of redesign and construction.
Improvement – Intersections will have wider turning radius, improved sight lines, and proper intersection lighting. Potential driveway enhancements include replacement or installation of new apron material, proper grading, and a more consistent installation design. On the far western end of Omro Road, Omro Road will be realigned to the north in front of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ at Leonard Point Road. This realignment will provide better safety and access for drivers at this intersection. During the road reconstruction, WisDOT will be installing a 3-way signal at Leonard Point Road and STH 21 to allow for traffic normally using Omro Road to access STH 21 easier and safer. The signals will be installed in late 2020 and early 2021 and removed after the project is completed. The realignment of Omro Road at Leonard Point Road will also give space for future improvements at STH 21 and Leonard Point Road intersection, which could be a roundabout or a 4-way stop light. A Traffic Impact Analysis will be done in the future to determine if the intersection warrants a roundabout, 4-way stop, or another design.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations – Omro Road has no substantive bicycle or walking accommodations. Community members who wish to walk or bike along Omro Road must choose between the driving lane shared with vehicles or the 3-4′ paved/gravel shoulder. Walking and bicycling is further hampered by steep shoulders and no definable separation from vehicle traffic. The project fits the recommendations outlined in the regional Safe Routes to School plans.
Improvement – The design plan includes marked bike lanes on both sides of the road. Sidewalks will be added to both sides of Omro Road with designated crosswalks. Sidewalks on both sides will discourage individuals from walking back and forth across the street creating unsafe conditions for both themselves and the vehicle drivers. The Federal funding for the project dictates bike lanes and sidewalks are to be constructed on both sides of the road.
- April 2017: Discussions began with East Central Regional Planning Commission staff on funding available through the Federal STP-Urban program. The Regional Planning Commission staff manage the Oshkosh Metropolitan Planning Organization in which Algoma is a member.
- September 2017: Grant Application Submitted.
- October 2017: Design contract awarded to McMahon Associates, contingent upon grant being approved.
- February 2019: Application was approved and the Town of Algoma signs agreement with WisDOT to accept $2.5 million in funding for Omro Road.
- March 2019: The first Public Involvement Meeting held at the Town Hall.
- November 2018- May 2019: Applications were submitted for all applicable permits, preparation began on a preliminary roadway design, communications began with all utility providers with utilities located within the road right of way.
- April 2019- November 2019: Work continued on preparing a final design plan. Utility providers continued to review current utilities within the road right of way and the need to move, extend, or replace them either before or during the construction phase of the project.
- March 2020: Began securing property and construction easements from property owners along Omro Road, 60% plan completed, and project plan provided to all utility providers.
- April or May 2020: A second Public Involvement Meeting at Town Hall. Cancelled…contact Town Hall for project details.
- June 2020- August 2020: Construction begins on Jones Detention Pond designed to accept and treat stormwater from Omro Road.
- July 2020- October 2020: Some utility changes are scheduled to be made during this time period.
- September 2020: Jones Detention Pond completed except for final landscaping to be finished in spring and summer 2021.
- October 2020: Complete easement and property acquisitions.
- November 2020: Final plans, specifications, and costs (PS & E) completed.
- March 2021: WisDOT awards project to contractor(s).
- April 2021: Other determined stormwater improvements bid and constructed.
- April 2021- November 2021: Road is being reconstructed with new culverts, sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, curb and gutter, stormwater mains, marked crosswalks with lighting.
- December 2021: Projected completion of Omro Road improvement project.
- Spring 2022: Final landscaping and road markings finished.
Scheduled Meetings To Date
March 12, 2019: First Public Information Workshop.