6th Street Project Stirs Sidewalk Discussion in Ashland

Residents, City Councilors Divided Over Sidewalk Details in Road Repair Plan

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Details are being finalized for a 22–block street repair project in Ashland that has citizens divided.

Right now 6th Street between Ellis Avenue and Sanborn Avenue is owned by the state of Wisconsin and labeled as a connecting highway, but these plans would put the road in the city’s hands.

The plan is scheduled for summer 2016 and includes a complete repair of the roads – tearing up the street, replacing the utilities, adding lights, and replacing the sidewalks.

Last Tuesday the city council met to discuss this rebuild project, but still has yet to come to an agreement on certain issues.

The biggest one is the sidewalks.

The plan includes five–foot sidewalks, which is the standard width in the city, but some people believe narrowing them to four feet would save money.

City engineers argue the additional foot would raise the price of concrete, but wouldn’t change labor costs.

They say it would actually decrease the price per square foot.

Plus, the smaller sidewalk would raise additional obstacles.

“The minimum for ADA is four foot, but with a four–foot sidewalk, no longer than every 200 foot you have to have a passing lane for wheelchairs to make it ADA compliant,” explained Ray Hyde, Director of Public Works for Ashland.

Another issue still being worked out is parking.

Some people are pulling for parking on one side of the street only, while businesses along the stretch say parking on both sides will be more convenient for customers.

The estimated cost for the project is $7.5 million, with about $4 million of that coming from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

This Tuesday the council will come to a final decision.

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