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Final countdown for Hwy. 23 reconstruction
hwy 23 construction
The detour signs are up - preparing for Darlington's 'Season of Construction'. Work will commence on Monday, March 29 as crews' first phase is the Hwy. 23 and River Road intersection, which is located at the South approach to the bridge. Traffic will be controlled by a flag operation and traffic lights will be set up on the bridge itself. See construction schedule below. - photo by Brian Lund

DARLINGTON – The City of Darlington Common Council met on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 and heard final updates for the Hwy. 23 reconstruction project from WisDOT Project Manager Greg Payne.

Gerke Excavating, Inc. of Tomah is the prime contractor and Barry Larson of HNTB Corporation is the Lead Engineer and the go-to guy on a daily basis. A temporary office has been set-up by the DOT in the former Craig Hardware store.

Payne said, “We expect construction to start on March 29. This year’s construction focuses on the River Street intersection to Minerva Street and in 2022 we will be doing River Street to County Shop Road. The first thing we’re doing is reconstructing the River Street intersection. There are a lot of storm and sanitary sewers located there.”

  Construction will officially begin when the DNR gives the okay that the Cricket frog is out of hibernation.

Payne continued, “The River Street intersection should take about a month. So late April, early May we’ll get into constructing the northbound lane from the bridge to Harriet Street. That will take us until July. Both directions of traffic through Darlington will be on the southbound lane.”

Payne: “We’ve had a lot of questions – how we will be handling traffic. The bridge will be open for one lane of traffic and controlled by temporary signals. Two lanes of traffic will be implemented on the southbound lane, when the northbound lane is being constructed. Around late July we will flip the scenario and construct the southbound lane and two-way traffic will be on the northbound lane. In 2022 we will begin construction from the bridge to County Shop Road. At that time we will close Galena Street to through traffic. That’s where if someone is living south of town that needs to get to Piggly-Wiggly they will have to use the side roads to get to the River Street intersection.”

Several questions were fielded by Payne.

•There will be no parking on Main Street in 2021 once construction starts.

•Temporary striping will divide the southbound land to allow two-way traffic. The lanes will be eleven foot wide each way.

•Detours and signage will be done by the DOT. The detours will begin right away on March 29.

•Traffic will be controlled with a flagging operation on the River Street intersection construction.

•In 2022 if you live on Galena Street you will be able to traverse the street. At times driveways will be closed, the contractor is to provide an 48 hour notice to residents.

•In 2022 Hwy. 23 will be resurfaced, this is part of a separate project.

•Questions about large farm machinery exceeding the 11 foot width were brought up – typically those folks will be aware of the conditions and make other arrangements to get to there destinations

•The city is responsible for damage to roads on local roads (Spring Street and Minerva Street) during local detours.

•Barges will be under the bridge to accept debris when the bridge is demoed.

•Pedestrians will be able to use one side of the bridge to get across once we get into working on the structure. So for the first phase of the bridge work we will be working on the northbound half. Pedestrians would use the walkway on the west side of the structure/southbound side. Then in the next stage vice versa.

•The typical hours Gerke Excavating will be on-site working will be from 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. There may be some later hours here and there for water service connections/interruptions depending on business needs. It doesn’t sound like there will be weekend work initially. If they do get behind schedule then likely we would see them start working Saturdays.

Finance and Personnel Committee

A meeting was held in closed session to review applications for the utility billing/clerical support position.

In other business:

•Approved an alcoholic beverage license for Casey’s General Store at 145 Main Street to add the sale of intoxicating liquors to their current class A beer license.

Casey’s Wisconsin overseer Anthony Hawks was present and assured the council that they have a strict policy and procedure of not selling to minors.

•The City of Darlington is in line to receive $231,013 from the American Rescue Plan that the federal government passed. There is a list of items that the funds can be spent on. It will be paid out 50% up front and 50% at the end of the year.


Late March thru Late April 2021

North of the bridge

•No on-street parking allowed on STH 23/Main St

•Traffic maintained each direction

•Construct temporary asphalt widening for southbound traffic between Cornelia St. and Harriet St.

South of the bridge

•Traffic maintained by flagging operation

•Construct River St./Co F intersection (immediately south of the bridge).



Late April thru Late July 2021


•Both lanes of Main St. traffic shifted to the southbound side from the bridge to Co. F / Harriet St.

•One way traffic access over the bridge controlled by temporary traffic signal.

•Side streets intersecting on east side of Main St. closed to through traffic.


•Construct east half of the bridge.

•Construct northbound Hwy. 23/Main St. from bridge to Co. F/Harriet St.

•Construct Main St./Co. F intersection under flagging operation.



Late July thru Late October 2021


•Both lanes of Main St. traffic shifted to the new northbound side from the bridge to Co. F/Harriet St.

•One way traffic access over the bridge controlled by temporary traffic signal.

•Side streets intersecting on west side of Main St. closed to through traffic.

•Road closed to through traffic on Hwy. 23 from Co. F intersection to Minerva St.


•Construct west half of bridge.

•Construct southbound Hwy. 23/Main St. from the bridge to Minerva St.



Late October thru Mid-November 2021


•Traffic maintained both directions


•Remove temporary widening on northbound Hwy. 23/Main St. between Cornelia St. to Harriet St. and construct permanent curb and pavement.



April thru Early October 2022


•Road Closed to through traffic on Hwy. 23/Galena St. from County Shop Rd. to River St. Co. F intersection.


•Construct Hwy 23/Galena St. from County Shop Rd. to River St./Co. F intersection in six phases based on block length restrictions.