Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wisconsin Highway Bypass Mania: This Time, Hortonville, Pop. 2,700?

More evidence of Wisconsin's penchant to over-build and waste money on road projects: Believe it or not, there is still a push to build a bypass around little Hortonville, with a population of about 2,700.

[Another great job by Sean Ryan of The Daily Reporter, by the way.]

Though we can say that Hortonville, the picturesque Fox Valley community, is twice as big as Pound, WI - - population 1,367 - - which is getting its bypass, too.

That Highway 41 project is former Assembly Speaker John Gard's legacy.

But this bypass binge is really a prescription for wrecking small town main streets.

Everyone gets a taxpayer-paid bypass these days: Mineral fact, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said in a study about a decade ago that by 2010, the number of bypassed communities in Wisconsin would more than double from 17 in 1980 t0 37.

And though the study played up the economic benefits to bypassing, it also said that the risk of the opposite - - economic harm - - was strongest in the smaller communities bypassed, with traffic counts on the original, bypassed routes down by as much as 72%.

Think about it, Hortonville.


capper said...

When they rebuilt Hwy 45 from Oshkosh to Waupaca (the old Hwy 10) it did the same thing to Fremont.

Hwy 10/110 used to go through Fremont which had been a growing community. We stopped at their two cheese stores regularly. The new highway shot right passed the town and now both stores are empty.

All those people losing their businesses and jobs so people can shave five or ten minutes off their travel time.

Was it worth it?

Nick said...

@capper - Was it worth it? I don't know... I got to Steven's Point a little faster thanks to that, and was able to spend some more money there than I might normally have. ;-)

Besides... I don't think anyone in Wisconsin is suffering for lack of Cheese Stores in the state.

Anon Jim said...

Apparently Capper fails to realize the cited US-45 rebuild which affected Fremont - also resulted in US-45 no longer being routing thru Hortonville.

The STH-15 that currently goes thru Hortonville has only been designated as such since 1998.

The significant bypassage happened 13 years ago.

Even then as someone who has regularly driven this stretch of road, for a variety of reasons, since the 1960's - it has been decades since Hortonville had anything resembling a vibrant Main street.

capper said...


There are a lot of cheese stores, but not many really good ones. There was one store that had cheddar so sharp they bragged that it would put pimples on your tongue.