West Side Association is proud of the role it has played in the support and promotion of community and infrastructure projects. Many times our initiatives are "behind the scene" but in the past few years, the organization has taken a more visible role in several public events such as ribbon cutting celebrations for the WI Highway 21 overpass and the Lake Butte des Morts Causeway.

Some of the most recent News & Events include:

Lake Butte des Morts Causeway Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
June 11, 2013

After the success of the WIS 21 ribbon cutting celebration, the Wisconsin DOT contacted West Side Association to participate in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the opening of the new Lake Butte des Morts causeway. We gladly accepted the invitation and got busy planning and organizing the event.

Plenty of planning went into the celebration, which included pre-ceremony entertainment by the Lourdes Academy Marching Band, the Pledge of Alliegience led by area Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, refreshments and cake graciously donated by Two Brothers Restaurant and Festival Foods, and music by Dorsey Entertainment.

The festivities were held in a huge tent, which was erected on the causeway so people got a close-up view of the project. Speakers included:
• WIS DOT NE Region Director, Will Dorsey
• WI Secretary of Transportation, Mark Gottlieb
• Oshkosh Chamber President, John Casper

Attendees each received a "goodie bag" with items donated by West Side Association member businesses. Approximately 200 people attended in spite of the hot and humid weather that day.

About the Project
The new causeway over Lake Butte des Morts on US 41 opened fully to traffic in July 2013, and is undoubtedly a relief and a pleasure for motorists who drive it. With two additional lanes in each direction capable of handling a much larger volume of traffic, the improvements over the lake are impressive.

Prior to the mid-1950s when the original causeway was built, motorists had to cross the Fox River in downtown Oshkosh. The construction of a causeway with a series of three bridges was a great improvement, said Tom Buchholz, WisDOT Project Manager, though one of the bridges was a draw bridge. "They said traffic would back up for miles if a boat went through after a Packer game," he said.

The Causeway reconstruction project was undertaken to address capacity and safety needs on US 41, Buchholz said, adding that WisDOT looked at several options, including the construction of a singe bridge to the west of the existing causeway. With a price tag of around $100 million for a bridge compared to approximately $34 million for an improved causeway, WisDOT opted for the latter. "We came up with the idea of putting a trail along side of US 41, and that idea was very well received," Buchholz said. It's a win-win situation for everyone."

The result is a new, eight-lane Lake Butte des Morts crossing, created by widening the existing causeway to the west. Buchholz said three through lanes and an auxiliary lane in each direction will improve the traffic flow between the WIS 21 and US 45 interchanges. Freeway lighting will span the entire causeway.

Buchholz said the new causeway is built for traffic volumes projected 20 years into the future. "The general feedback we've received so far has been very positive," Buchholz said. "I think once it's fully open, people are going to love it."

 

Hy 21 Ribbon Cutting
Monday, November 5, 2012

The West Side Association and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation co-hosted d the ribbon cutting celebration for the Highway 21 overpass on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 10:00 am. The business community and the citizens of Oshkosh were excited to celebrate this long-anticipated infrastructure improvement that promised to alleviate traffic congestion and open up Oshkosh's west side to new commercial development opportunities.

The festivities were held inside a tent at Robbins Restaurant, 1810 Omro Road where very special guests shared their excitement for the completion of this project. Speakers included:

US Senator Tom Petri
Oshkosh Mayor Burk Tower
WI Secretary of Transportation, Mark Gottlieb
Oshkosh Chamber President, John Casper

An outdoor ribbon cutting was followed by a short reception inside the restaurant. Refreshments were graciously donated by Robbins Restaurant and Festival Foods for this event. Over 150 people attended to help us celebrate this tremendous improvement for the city of Oshkosh, the Town of Algoma, and all of Winnebago County.

About the Project
The WIS 21 interchange was part of a $54 million project that includes improvements to US 41 mainline and expansion of the Lake Butte des Morts causeway immediately to the north. The interchange, including the pavement from Witzel Avenue to Lake Butte des Morts, totals approximately $30 million of the $54 million.

Improved safety, greater capacity and replacing deteriorating pavement are the main reasons for reconstructing WIS 21. Improvements include:
• Rebuilding the interchange so that WIS 21 passes over US 41
• Construction of four roundabouts on WIS 21, at the US 41 ramp terminals and Washburn and Koeller streets intersections
• Reconstruction and expansion of US 41 between Witzel Avenue and US 45
• Installation of sidewalks and bike lanes

The upgrade to the WIS 21 interchange and US 41 mainline will be critical to Wisconsin, the region, and area businesses because they ensure an important economic link between the Fox River Valley and southeast Wisconsin for the future.