Walker: Hwy. 441/10 project to be completed ahead of schedule

Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Wisconsin 441 Project Office in Greenville Dec. 18, 2017, to announce that Hwy. 441/10 will open a year earlier than expected. (WLUK/Ben Krumholz)

GREENVILLE (WLUK) -- A major construction project will be finishing earlier than expected in the Fox Cities.

The orange barrels from the tri-county Highway 441 expansion will be taken off highways a year earlier than expected. The project is now expected to be done in November 2019.

“People that drive it every day, the economic development that is going to help on the west side of 41 is going to be huge,” said Tom Buchholz, the 441 project manager for the Department of Transportation.

The expansion of six miles of US-10 and 441 from four lanes to six started in 2014. The project also includes the reconstruction of five interchanges and the Roland Kampo Bridge.

“We wouldn't be here if we didn't care deeply about the Fox Valley,” said Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) during a press conference at the project’s Greenville office.

Walker and project leaders say speeding up the work is possible through savings from competitive project bids and lower fuel costs, along with increased state revenue.

“It was such a competitive market in construction,” said Buchholz. “Contractors are bidding more aggressively. Obviously, fuel prices have been low, so the bids have been coming in low, so we kind of redo our estimates based on that.”

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson is concerned savings from the 441 project could end up going toward Foxconn area roads, instead of other Fox Cities projects. Nelson says his concerns are from a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report that shows local roads near the Foxconn site have been changed to state highways.

“We need to focus our priorities here in the Fox Valley, for that matter, other parts of the state too,” said Nelson.

“It will not have any bearing on any of the projects that we have on our plate,” said Walker. “In fact, with more announcements like today, we'll probably move up other projects across the state and do them sooner.”

Specific projects within the 441 plan are also being moved ahead of schedule. For example, the 441-41-10 interchange on the west side of 41 is now expected to be done next year.

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