Town of Janesville delays decision to cut off highway shortcut
TOWN OF JANESVILLE Town of Janesville supervisors agreed Thursday that another 10 days of consideration might help them make the best decision to balance safety and convenience on North Hackbarth Road, a local shortcut that has already been the topic of several meetings.
The 350-yard stretch of Hackbarth is a popular route between County E on the south and Highway 14 on the north.
It is primarily used by motorists turning south off Highway 14 near the Redwood Motel to connect with County E and Janesville’s west side or those traveling north on County E who want to head east toward the city.
Safety has long been an issue on the stretch, primarily as northbound motorists leave County E to use the Hackbarth Road shortcut.
A recent town traffic count on County E showed that of the 2,700 vehicles that travel north on County E each day, about 2,000 of them turn onto Hackbarth Road. The other 700 continue north to the intersection with Highway 14.
The County E speed limit at the Hackbarth Road intersection is 55 mph. On Hackbarth, it’s 35 mph, a limit few drivers meet after making the banked turn onto Hackbarth, Brandt said.
Neighbors along the stretch have said it’s a raceway and that crossing the road to get their mail is dangerous. So, too, is driving into or out of their driveways, they said.
They reiterated those views at a public hearing Thursday, asking that the board pass a resolution to close Hackbarth at County E.
From the north and Highway 14, Hackbarth would end in a T-shaped turnaround to accommodate school buses and snow plows.
Others at the hearing said the road should not be closed, a move that would cost township residents thousands of dollars and inconvenience thousands of drivers daily.
The town had considered another option, one that would have created a 90-degree right-hand turn off County E to the north of the current intersection. While that would have forced County E traffic to slow down considerably before making the turn, it also would have cost about $25,000 to acquire land and easements and build a new segment of road.
One option that hadn’t been considered until Thursday was reconfiguring the intersection at its current location. Supervisors said they want to take another look to see if such a reconfiguration could be done that would significantly slow traffic turning on to Hackbarth.
That’s what they will do between now and March 4, when the issue will be back on the board’s agenda.