Verona Road businesses plan to work together
Six years of construction on a major thoroughfare can take a toll on drivers and businesses.
While motorists might seek an alternate route, businesses along the Verona Road construction project are banding together to promote themselves throughout the painful but inevitable $175 million reconstruction project.
Work has been going on all spring on the first phase of Verona Road, at the Beltline interchange. The second major phase starts around 2017 and will affect the area south of the current zone, all the way past McKee Road.
Through a Wisconsin Department of Transportation-sponsored program called “In This Together,” local businesses are working with city hall and the WisDOT to make sure business owners and customers are aware of the construction and work on ways to keep their businesses viable during the project.
According to city documents, the team hopes to work with a PR/marketing firm to promote the companies near the construction zone and to use social media to get its message out.
The city will also consider spending $130,000 worth of matching funds over the next five years to work on alerting drivers about how construction will affect access to businesses in the area. Some of those projects include amending ordinances to allow for more signage, mapping alternative routes to Verona Road corridor businesses and defraying the costs of marketing the businesses.
The council will weigh in on this proposal during the capital budget deliberations in June.
While businesses try to survive, drivers are in for more changes along the project area. Two lanes of traffic in each direction remain open near the Beltline, but traffic along Atticus Way/Summit Road has been shifted north across from Britta Parkway. In July, traffic along Verona Road is expected to shift from the southbound side of the road to the new northbound Verona Road side. This phase is slated to be done by November.
Meanwhile, traffic looking to avoid the construction will find a new signalized intersection at County Hwys. M and D (Fish Hatchery Road). Pavement markings have been added to prepare for additional traffic looking for an alternate route away from Verona Road.
Look for weekly traffic updates on ConnectFitchburg.com.