Road construction season getting underway

APPLETON – Warmer weather also means the return of the big orange barrels.

And construction season is off to a fast start in Outagamie County with a major project now underway.

A week into March and construction season is already upon us.

“Be aware, work zones are going to start popping up here and there again,” said Winnebago County Highway Commissioner Ernie Winters.

The Highway 47 interchange at Highway 41 in Appleton is one of many areas projects getting underway. It will cost $4.5 million to replace and raise the bridge over the next seven months.

“Highway 41/47 here is quite a busy commuter road through the center of the city of Appleton and it is quite an impact to remove this access for awhile,” said DOT Highway 47 Project Manager Matt Haefs.

“My GPS tells me to get off at Richmond and of course it’s closed,” said Pamela Blade of Green Bay.

Blade found out about the project the hard way. Blade’s trip to the DMV office just down the street from the interchange took her an extra 15 minutes of her lunch hour.

“So I have to go up an extra exit and my of course my GPS tells me to turn around and it’s like no you can’t because it’s closed on the other side too so yeah it was kind of a hassle.”

Construction season can also be a dangerous time for highway workers.

Eight years ago Friday, Winnebago County Highway Department workers Marc Neumeyer and Dan Melhorn were killed while working along Highway 41.

Winters says that should serve as a reminder to drivers to slow down.

“People should just be aware that when you see the barrels, you see the workers near the right away, just slow down, be careful, be alert, just hang the phone up and pay attention to what you are doing.”

As the snow begins to melt and the barrels take their place.

On the bright side, the barrels also mean spring is just around the corner.

But it also means there will be delays and plenty of detours.

Drivers will have to find alternate ways on and off Highway 41 at Highway 47 until October.

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