Road work forces change at Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub
Intersection expansion causes move of business’ main entrance

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

May 1, 2019

 A misty rain falls Monday in Richfield at Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub at the intersection of highways 164 and 167. At that same intersection, to the far right, this summer a roundabout will be constructed which will force changes to the lot Bilda’s is located on. The current main entrance, front, will have to be moved about 260 feet to the east so it will not interfere with the roundabout once it is completed. The old main entrance will become a grassy area.
Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

RICHFIELD — This summer a project to reconstruct and improve more than seven miles of Highway 164 in the village will also cause major entrance and parking changes for a long-time business adjacent to the intersection of the highway and Holy Hill Road.

Because a roundabout will be constructed at that intersection this summer, Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials have ordered the main entrance to Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub to be closed and replaced with a new entrance located about 260 feet to the east of the current entrance.

The village’s Plan Commission will discuss that piece of the highway improvement project when it meets Thursday night at the Village Hall starting at 7 p.m.

“Since the WisDOT is the only governmental entity that controls access to state highways they are mandating the move for safety reasons,” said Village Administrator Jim Healy. “The access point will be a 24-foot-wide drive lane. To match the new driveway approach with the existing parking lot they are proposing to feather-in and match a newly paved area. The parking area directly north of the building where cars could enter the site from their old access point will no longer have parking.”

Healy said the former access point will be closed and restored with a grass boulevard. Parking stalls will be created along the northernmost boundary, creating a 22-foot-wide drive lane to reach the western parking area. According to WisDOT officials, the number of parking stalls will not change.

Healy said staff agrees with the changes and believes they will “unquestionably improve safety at this intersection.”

Healy said business owners Bob and Vickie Bilda have expressed support for the plan.

“I’ve been given assurances by Wis-DOT officials, who are professional engineers, that they will be personally overseeing the construction occurring on this property,” he said.

Actual construction of the roundabout is expected to begin in early June and take until late August. That work was planned to take place at that time so it would not interfere with the area schools’ transportation routes.

The Highway 164 rehabilitation project has an estimated cost of $13.26 million.