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Board green lights 8th/9th plan
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MONROE - The City of Monroe Board of Public Works voted unanimously Monday to go forward on 8th/9th Street reconstruction with a state grant supplying about 80 percent of the $4.5 million cost.

Director of Public Works Kelly Finkenbinder presented the proposed and designed plans for the route from Wisconsin 69 to 20th Avenue.

The street will be widened by four feet on each side, requiring electrical poles along the route to be relocated, and plans show 9th Street being closed at the corner of 11th Avenue near Quick Trip.

Finkenbinder was authorized to go ahead with the plans for reconstruction, but bonding will not be sought until the city knows how much it needs for purchasing property along the route. An estimated $500,000 will be needed for property acquisition.

Finkenbinder said property owners cannot be approached about purchasing the property until the city is notified that all federal and state agencies have signed off on the required paperwork.

Bids for the project probably will not go out until 2010.

The project has been stalled since 2006, when preservation of historical and environmental aspects had to be reviewed and the project approved to allow grant money to be issued.

The city is waiting for the final environmental report (ER), which had to be signed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin State Historical Preservation office, Wis. D.O.T. Bureau of Equity and Environmental Services, and the Federal Highway Administration.

The state increased its grant funding to cover 80 percent of the current costs in November, just one day before the Board of Public Works was scheduled to discuss undertaking the 8th/9th project alone, although it had determined the project would be scaled back significantly.

Board members determined to do the project because the stretch of road lies over some of the city's oldest water and sewer lines. An increasing number of repairs to the lines was an indication that replacement was needed. Costs for replacing water and sewer lines come out of the utilities' budgets.

The street project was estimated at $2.5 million in 2003. By 2008, however, the project cost had increased to $4.5 million, and overshadowed the original state grant.

When the state agreed to fund 80 percent of the current costs, board members picked up the original plans again.