Road construction: two words that throw nearly any Milwaukeean into a flustered tailspin. The noise, the traffic and the lengthy process all add up to a very negative experience.
That, however, is not the case with neighbors in Bayside experiencing a pretty invasive construction project. At the intersection of Tennyson Drive and East Standish Place, residents are watching their roads dug up, their ditches scraped out, and their culverts being replaced.
The overhaul of the intersection began Aug. 3 and isn’t expected to be completed until Sept. 1, but you certainly won’t hear neighbors complaining.
“Actually, the construction has been painless,” said Virginia Wible, a resident who lives just two houses from the corner. “It’s been great with the village and with the group doing the actual construction. The crew is sarcastic and funny, and I love that.
"But they’re also conscientious of the people around them. Every time I see them together, they’re laughing, so I think it’s a good group of people.”
One resident who has been most directly affected by the construction is 85-year-old Betsy Wolf. She lives on the corner of Tennyson Drive and Standish Place, and she also had nothing but great things to say about the guys working in her front yard.
“They’ve been a delight, just wonderful,” said Wolf. “They’ve been very accommodating. They always talk in the morning and are very pleasant. I haven’t even asked how much longer they’ll be here because they’re so pleasant to have around, I don’t care if they stay!”
New friends aside, the team is there to fix a major problem. The intersection has been affectionately nicknamed by neighbors, and even village employees, as “Lake Standish.” Because the road has such a small slope, water tends to pool in the area after heavy rainfall.
Bayside Director of Community and Utility Services Alex Henderson says that intersection is the biggest issue the village has during this summer’s road reconstruction project. Even he has come to call the unruly intersection Lake Standish.
“It’s a very flat area, so moving water to the nearby ravine is hard,” Henderson said. “Reconstructing the asphalt and working some new ditches will create some slope to get water out of Lake Standish. It’s a project we needed to get done.”
The entire cost of the project is $320,000. That includes the drainage problem at Lake Standish, as well as resurfacing all of Bayside Drive and a part of Ellsworth Lane. The money for the project comes from the village’s road reserve fund and storm water utility fund.
However, that lump of cash isn’t covering one essential part of the construction. Sixteen neighbors surrounding East Standish Place are required, or have requested, to get their culverts replaced because of water flow issues.
And at $575 per culvert, it’s surprising how many residents are taking the bill in stride.
“Nobody likes to shell out that money, but if it needs to be done, it needs to be done,” said neighbor Lisa Gundersen. “It’s better than having your sewer backup when we have excessive rain.”
Both Wolf and Wible have experienced flooding problems because of the massive amounts of water at that intersection, so they’re happy to fork over the money to keep it from happening again.
“About three years ago, I had to replace my furnace, my hot water heater, everything,” said Wolf. “I think I had about nine inches of water in my basement, so I’m really glad they’re doing this over here. It couldn’t be any worse.”
“To have the drainage fixed is a big deal,” added Wible. “We’ve had flooding problems with Lake Standish.”
Henderson says they won’t have to wait much longer. Ditching will continue at the intersection until early next week, followed by about 10 days of additional road work. Henderson said he expects the entire project to be completed by the time school starts on Sept. 1.
“The village has done a good job of communicating,” said Wible. “I’m looking forward to seeing how this construction helps.”