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New Berlin roads have recovered from poorer conditions

City's streets have improved based on rating system score

March 4, 2014

New Berlin — The city's roads have recovered from their poorer-than-preferred condition in 2009 and are now on target to meet a goal tied to a state evaluation process.

That goal, city officials decided some time ago, is an average score of 60 — about as smooth as Sunnyslope Road between Greenfield and Lincoln avenues — on a scientific measuring scale used by communities all over Wisconsin.

Every odd year, all the roads and lanes in the city are given a score from 10 (gravel-like road) to 100 (freshly resurfaced appearance). In 2009, New Berlin roads had fallen to an average of 54, down from 66.6 in 1995.

Recent improvement projects have raised the score. Tammy Simonson, the city's traffic engineer, reported to the Common Council's Board of Public Works recently that the 2013 road evaluation showed an average score of 60.7.

The score is only a reflection of the roads for which city has sole responsibility. Waukesha County handles the major thoroughfares — Cleveland, College, Greenfield, National and Racine avenues and Moorland and Beloit roads.

Improvement effort

Arresting and reversing the slide actually predates 2009.

It started in about 2003, when city officials advocated putting more money toward fixing the roads, said New Berlin Mayor Dave Ament.

Previously, the city was setting aside $300,000 per year for road work other than more costly reconstructions, Ament said. Deciding that wasn't enough the Common Council put about $800,000 into a separate rehabilitation fund in addition to the $300,000 maintenance fund.

Ament said the city has tried to increase the rehabilitation fund every year since then.

With more cash to work with, the city could tackle more of the worst streets.

Though other factors are considered as well, the city tries to hit streets with low pavement scores and high traffic counts first.

The four busier roads — Coffee Road (from Racine Avenue to Calhoun Road), Johnson Road (from Jeffers Drive to Lincoln Avenue), Martin Road (between National and College avenues) and 124th Street (between Interstate 43 and Grange Avenue) — now all have ratings of 100.

Still some bad spots

The city does still have a couple of 10s, Simonson said. One is a tiny section of Swartz Road south of Beeheim Road. The other is Racine Court, north of Interstate 43, that serves the Sunnyside Cemetery. Those are lightly used and there have been no complaints, she added.

With a score of 40, the only fairly major road that is in relatively poor condition is Calhoun Road between National and Cleveland avenues, the fifth busiest city road.

Otherwise, people seem to have noticed that city roads are generally in better shape.

"We used to hear all the time about our roads, but we're not hearing much anymore," Ament said.

WHAT'S IN STORE THIS YEAR?

The city will reconstruct two roads from the ground up:

· The nearly 1.4-mile Coffee Road east section between Calhoun Road and National Avenue; pavement score of 30.

· One-mile of Lincoln Avenue from Calhoun to Moorland roads; pavement score of 40.

Resurface about nine miles of roadways from mid -June to mid-September:

Jills Drive, Clover Drive, Elm Drive, Johns Drive, Tree Top Lane, Horizon Drive, Woodland Court (two locations), Woodview Court, Valley Spring Drive, Valley Spring Court, Honey Lane and Court, a portion of Park Avenue, Lilac Lane, Ridgeway Road, Barton Road, Ferguson Road, Country Lane, Laurie Lane, Woelfel Road, Linfield Drive (two locations), Wilshire Drive and Court, Wembly Drive and Court (two locations), Stratford Drive, Cherrywood Court, Woodland Drive, Woodview Drive and Court, Pickford Drive, a portion of Park Avenue, Park Court, Meadowshire Drive and Court, Fountain Drive (two locations), Fountain Court, Acredale Drive and Court, Manor Drive and Court and Oklahoma Avenue.

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