Deadly Parkway in the Dells Slated for Safety Upgrade

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

POSTED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 --- 11:00 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin

After hundreds of accidents and two deaths in the last few years, planning is underway to reconstruct a major roadway in the Wisconsin Dells.

Wisconsin Dells Parkway leads to some of the city's biggest attractions, including Noah's Ark and Mount Olympus, but it has also led to more than 330 accidents since 2007. That includes incidents that killed a biker and pedestrian in the last two years.

The road, originally built in 1929, has seen only minor reconstruction since. Among four proposed plans for the $25 million project, consultants recommend bike lanes to keep riders, many foreign workers just in town for the summer, off of the streets and sidewalks.

Easing congestion could also eliminate driveways leading to businesses, which could hurt potential drive-by customers.

"I'm having driveways taken away and I'm having access points that are going to be different," said Eric Hellen, who owns land on the strip. "Ultimately it comes down to 'How will this impact our business?' Because these are major changes."

The project, expected to break ground in 2020, could also revitalize the look of the street with medians and a wider footprint.

"Aesthetically we have to make the Dells look better," said Mount Olympus Owner Nick Laskaris. "If I had a dream it would be just like Vegas, where it's got nice foliage, nice flowers, I mean it's a beautiful place to go."

Construction is expected in stages in the fall and early spring to minimize congestion during the busy summer season.

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