June 1, 2019
By Brandon Anderegg
Project to cause disruption in New Berlin, mayor says
New Berlin— A public informational session regarding the pump station and reservoirs slated to be constructed in Minooka Park as part of Waukesha’s Lake Michigan diversion project will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in New Berlin City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive.
The proposed project consists of constructing two 9-million gallon reservoirs and a pump station in Minooka Park just off the intersection of South Swartz Road and County Highway Y. The reservoirs and pump station are just one component of Waukesha’s Lake Michigan diversion project, which will provide Waukesha residents with Lake Michigan water via several underground pipes.
As part of the project, sections of roads will be under construction over two to three years. Although an official water pipeline route has not been selected, the preferred route is Oklahoma Avenue to National Avenue, from National Avenue to Coffee Road and from Coffee Road to Racine Avenue.
The return route for Lake Michigan water used by Waukesha residents will require laying pipe under sections of Racine Avenue, via right of ways along the Interstate 43 corridor, and Moorland Road.
A finalized water pipeline route will not become available until the Waukesha Water Utility receives permits from the Department of Natural Resources and approvals from the Public Service Commission, said Dan Duchniak, Waukesha Water Utility manager. He expects those permits and approvals to come forth within the next month.
“Then we’ll be trying to drive traffic to our website that will have specific paths in your area for each community that will provide regular updates to the residents along the route,” Duchniak said.
While the upcoming informational session will not include information about construction timelines, there will be informational sessions regarding road closures and detours in the near future, Duchniak said. Once construction begins, not all roads will be closed at once and detours will be planned for streets able to handle a similar amount of traffic, Duchniak said.
“I think it’s important that we provide ample opportunities to residents to provide input as we move forward with the project,” he said.
The project will generate challenges for New Berlin residents with construction and subsequent traffic being the number one issue, said Dave Ament, the city’s mayor
“This is going to be a 2 to 3 year project and this is going to disrupt New Berlin substantially,” Ament said.
Moreover, Ament expects pushback from residents since the pumping station will be constructed in one of the most rural areas of New Berlin, he said.
“People are not going to be happy about it, but (Waukesha) has a health and safety issue they have to deal with,” Ament said.
However, Ament wants residents to know this project is Waukesha-led, meaning New Berlin has little control over its direction, he said.
“Our goal now is to try to keep the residents and the businesses in New Berlin as informed as we can,” Ament said. “It’s going to take a lot of coordination with the county, the city of Waukesha and city of New Berlin to try to control these issues.”
For information regarding Waukesha’s Lake Michigan diversion project or for future detour and construction updates, visit greatwateralliance.com.