left turn from Highway 83 onto Highway NN on the north
side of Mukwonago would take motorists around the
village via Holz Parkway, which connects back with
Highway 83 on the south side of the village.
MUKWONAGO — Now that plans to alleviate traffic in
Mukwonago have become a focus for the Downtown Strategic
Plan Steering Committee, how feasible is a Highway 83
reroute, what would it cost and how might a different
route affect business in the village?
December, the Village Board approved the DSPSC’s
recommendation to pursue a jurisdictional transfer
agreement with the state and county for roads not owned
by the village and to pursue diverting “pass thru
traffic” to improve pedestrian safety in Mukwonago’s
downtown, according to a Dec. 19 Village Board agenda.
Mukwonago’s longtime search for a traffic remedy began
almost a decade ago when the state decided widening 83
(Rochester Street) through downtown would decrease the
amount of congestion and vehicle collisions in the area,
according to former Village President Jerry Gasser.
“The reasoning was that the crash rate through the
village was above the state average,” said Gasser.
Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee composed of village
officials and residents concluded a wider 83 would not
coincide with how residents envisioned downtown
Mukwonago, said Gasser. Part of the reason was because
the project would require removing several buildings and
businesses to allow two lanes of traffic running north
would have been a major and dramatic alteration of the
village,” said Gasser. “It would have been a detriment
to pedestrian traffic due to high volume traffic,
especially during peak hours.”
alternate route would begin at the intersection of
Highway 83 (Rochester Street) and Holz Parkway and
traverse to the east along Holz Parkway through the
Highway NN and County ES intersection, continuing west
along Highway NN and reconnecting at the intersection of
Highway NN and Highway 83, according to the 2013 study.
2013 feasibility study drafted by SAC and the Wisconsin
Department of Transportation found the street widening
project would cost $4.7 million, while the reroute cost
fact, Village Planner Bruce Kaniewski told The Freeman
in July of 2015 that the figure for widening doesn’t
consider the financial impact on the face of Mukwonago’s
downtown. The project would remove 23 parking spaces and
three buildings, restrict 10 driveways and eliminate two
and require acquisition of 15 parcels.
study indicates that an alternative route around the
village is not only feasible, but also viewed as a
viable option by the village, county and state, said
reroute would begin at the intersection of Highway 83
(Rochester Street) and Holz Parkway and traverse to the
east along Holz Parkway through the Highway NN and
County ES intersection, continuing west along Highway NN
and reconnecting at the intersection of Highway NN and
Highway 83, according to the 2013 study.
While the alternative route is possible, Village
Administrator John Weidl estimates that neither a
reroute nor widening 83 would occur until the mid-2020s.
What makes the process so complicated is there are
multiple actors and the reroute would involve a
jurisdictional transfer agreement, under which the
county or state would relinquish their ownership of a
road or a highway to the village, he said.
Furthermore, Weidl said any discussion of an alternative
route must include replacing the 50-year old water and
sewage pipes under Highway 83, which would be paid for
by taxpayers. Weidl said if the village is going to use
taxpayer money for infrastructure changes, he’d like the
village to own Rochester Street, which is currently
owned by the state.
“Because at the same time, if we own it we can make it
pedestrian- friendly and make improvements, said Weidl.
“Ultimately, we’re going to safeguard the taxpayer’s
With a new route around downtown, several businesses may
miss out on customers, depending on how traffic is
defined, according to Weidl. He said if the hypothesis
holds true that a new route would keep “thru-traffic”
out of the village and “destination traffic” in the
village, then a reroute would produce a
pedestrian-friendly downtown without damaging businesses
But, both Weidl and Kaniewski also suggested there are
businesses that thrive by being seen by all types of
traffic. For example, a business such as Walgreens might
advertise a product on sale that would coax a passerby
to stop. Or, as Kaniewski mentioned, a person may notice
a new business and plan to make a stop on another
“Businesses like to be seen,” said Kaniewski. “Even if
they don’t stop at the time; but they might come back.”