WIS 441/Little Lake Butte des Morts bridge project scheduled to start in summer

File photo.
File photo.

MENASHA - Get ready for another major road construction project. This time Highway 441. It's a $450 million project that will focus in and around the Menasha area.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation held a meeting Tuesday about the expansion of WIS 441/US 10 from Cold Springs Rd. to about 1/2 mile east of Oneida St.

The changes include adding a new interchange with US 41, putting a second bridge across Little Lake Butte des Morts and improving 441 interchanges at four different roads.

Some of the initial work is expected to get underway in June, with some bridge work scheduled to begin in August.

The DOT says the project will make 441 much safer and easier to drive, but some residents are worried, because the project could take over their property.

After two years of planning and meetings like this one, the DOT is looking forward to starting the work on 441.

"Oh yeah, we're really excited about this. We think it's gonna be a great project for the community," said project design manager Scott Ebel.

The plans include what's called a diverging diamond interchange at Oneida Street. It would be the first of its kind in the state. It looks a little intimidating on paper, but the DOT says it will be an improvement.

"You're gonna drive it very much like you would a regular interchange and we feel like it's gonna move traffic a lot more effectively," Ebel explained.

Some residents are looking forward to the changes.

"I'm excited to see the interchange with 41, because that's been a big bottle neck and I think it's hindered growth around the area," said Bob Golz.

But for some who are faced with the prospect of losing their property, their homes, this construction project is bringing up concerns.

"They've been there like 40 years. So, yeah, we kinda just wanna move on, you know?" said Brenda Samp whose mother and father-in-law were told they'll lose their house on Richard Drive to the project. Samp and her husband might lose their small garage next door. But she told us they don't know when they have to move on, because the DOT hasn't told them yet.

"Yeah, it's frustrating," said Samp.

The DOT told us about eight properties will be displaced, but that owners will get help relocating. It could take time, however.

"We're working through those relocation plans and will be for the next couple years." said Ebel.

Plans Samp hopes are finalized sooner than later.

"We'll wait. What else can you do?" she said.

The entire project is scheduled to finish in 2019.

You can also learn more about the project by visiting the WIS 441 Tri-County Project website.