5 Construction Zones We Can’t Stand, And What We Do To Avoid Them

It seems like road construction projects are happening everywhere in the Racine area. Here's how we've been dealing with them:

RACINE COUNTY, WI — There’s an old saying in Wisconsin that there are two seasons: winter and construction season.

We get it: road construction projects are a necessity — traffic engineers are always drawing up ways to make our roads safer, easier to travel and smarter when it comes to planning for future growth.

But that’s not to say that the construction projects aren’t a pain — especially when you’ve got to get somewhere and you’re up against the clock.

But before we get into it, we want to remind people that nothing makes us happier and more relieved when construction workers can return home safely to their wives, husbands and families.

1) Six Mile Road and Highway 31

Why We Can’t Stand It:

Rush-hour traffic backups over 2019 have been time-consuming, as a single line of cars tends to form with no end in sight. Tracking west to Highway 31 from Oak Creek takes an extra step as well. The project makes getting to Derango’s, 4621 6 Mile Road, especially tricky. Caledonia officials say to turn west onto 6 Mile Road and continue to the first driveway on the left side of the road into the parking lot.

What We Do Instead:

Go west. Depending on the time of day, we will just track west on 7 Mile Road or 5 Mile Road – depending on whether we’re heading north or south – and head over to Highway 38 to do an end-around.

Project Details:

6 Mile Road will be widened between Highway 31 and Highway 32. There will also be intersection improvements at 5 Mile Road, 6 Mile Road and Highway 31. A new traffic signal installed at the intersection of Highway 31 and Highway 32.

Completion Date:

Fall 2019

2) Durand Avenue

Why We Can’t Stand It:

If you’ve ever traveled on Durand Ave. between the lake and Regency Mall, you’ve bounced along rough terrain, trying to dodge traffic cones while concentrating on simply staying on the correct side of the road. And good heavens, if you’re trying to cross this road during rush hour, you may want to top off the gas tank before you do.

What We Do Instead:

We take 21st Street east and west if it’s not too much of a hassle.

Project Details:

Water main lines are being replaced under Durand Ave. this summer. According to a Wisconsin DOT Six-Year Highway Improvement Program, Durand Ave. is slated to undergo two main reconstruction projects: In 2020, the DOT says Durand Ave. will be reconstructed between Kentucky St. to Kearney Ave. This 1.8-mile stretch of road is expected to cost state taxpayers about $8 million. Another 0.38-mile stretch of Durand Ave. is expected to take place sometime between 2021-2023.

Completion Date:

Water main construction is expected to be done by late Summer 2019.

… And Of Course Durand Ave. Part 2:

Why We Can’t Stand It:

Ever try to go back into town from a trip to Menards, Walmart or Farm and Fleet? That one-lane reduction just west of the Highway 11 and 31 intersection can back traffic up for seemingly forever. And if you have frozen goods in your car? Forget it.

What We Do Instead:

We track north on Oakes Road and then onto Highway 20 to get back into town. If your destination is south of Highway 20, we just deal with it.

3) Spring Street

Why We Can’t Stand It:

Heading east into town during the afternoon rush hour, or west out of town during the morning can be a real hassle when the normally two-lanes of traffic are restricted to a single lane. We’ve finished entire drive-through breakfast sandwiches while waiting for traffic to clear a single traffic light. And making those left turns without a traffic signal? If it’s the wrong time of day, forget about it.

What We Do Instead:

Typically we just bear with traffic on this one. We could head north and take Highway 38, and Northwestern Ave. west to the Interstate, or track south to Highway 20 and rely on that, however we’re always figuring out the risk-reward calculus for going so far out of our way. Like Tom Petty sang, “the w-a-a-a-a-a-iting is the hardest part.”

4) 16th Street

Why We Can’t Stand It:

That stretch of 16th Street between Oakes Road and Highway 31 is a great way to get to the Case High School area from Highway 31, or, if you are heading east, is a great way to bypass Washington Ave. on a busy day. It’s also one of the only roads available to get to a number of neighborhoods in Mount Pleasant.

What We Do Instead:

16th Street has remained open to one-way traffic from Emmertsen Road to Highway 31, and that’s one avenue we have used in the past.

Project Details:

The Mount Pleasant Department of Public Works closed down 16th Street from Highway 31 west to Oakes Road in early May for a total road reconstruction of the two-lane road.

Completion Date:

Late Summer 2019

5) Three Mile Road

Why We Can’t Stand It:

Try going just about anywhere east-to-west on the north side of Racine without using 3 Mile Road. It’s an easy way to get from the northside neighborhoods to Douglas Ave. and north to Oak Creek, and it’s also a key road that lets you get into those Caledonia subdivisions north of the quarry.

What We Do Instead:

As we detour our way around 3 Mile Road, we try to avoid crossing Douglas Ave. without a light at all costs. The traffic goes faster than the posted speed limit, and you’re in for quite the wait if the cross traffic backs up.

Project Details:

Caledonia and Racine teamed up this year to resurface 3 Mile Road from just east of Douglas Ave. to Charles Street. The posted detour for eastbound traffic is from Douglas Avenue to South Street to LaSalle Street, and the same route in reverse for westbound traffic. 3 Mile Road is open to westbound traffic from Charles to Douglas Ave. – but it’s a bumpy ride and you have to dodge the occasional quarry truck or construction equipment.

Completion Date:

Fall 2019


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