Highway 14 bridge construction almost completed in Black Earth

BLACK EARTH, Wis. (WMTV) - Local businesses in downtown Black Earth are anxiously awaiting the reopening of Highway 14.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says construction on the bridges should be done by mid-late November.

“I think the reroute and the signage hasn’t been the best around town,” says Dave Vondra, owner of DEW Signs in Black Earth.

“I’ve seen a lot of people lost,” he adds.

Vondra says the road closures are causing less traffic to flow through the main part of town along Mills Street.

“The walk-ins have been a little slow,” he says. “I think with the amount of traffic that goes through here now, it’s amazing how ten to twenty thousand cars a day can impact a lot of businesses along the route.”

Village of Black Earth Administrator Shellie Benish says Vondra’s business isn’t the only one hurting.

“Everyone is either on limited hours or has closed temporarily until these get up and running,” Benish explains.

But she says construction is quickly coming along.

“They are moving at just lighting speed, faster than I’ve ever seen road construction,” Benish says. “It’s possible by next week both bridges may be open.”

Despite the construction headaches, the Black Earth community has taken delays in stride.

“I think keeping a positive attitude is number one,” says Vondra.

Benish says folks are making the best of it.

“It’s a situation that none of us had any control of,” she continues.

One thing they are hoping for in the coming months is dry weather.

“A dry summer would be fantastic,” Benish says.

In early October, Governor Scott Walker approved $683,050 of emergency spending to repair the bridge structure and replace the Wolf Run recreational trail.

The Wolf Run trail was completed a few weeks ago, ahead of schedule.