As a result of a lawsuit filed by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has agreed to reconsider its earlier decision to widen Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth. The agreement, which was approved by District Court Judge Lynn Adelman, calls for Wis DOT to reconsider a “Super Two” lane alternative, to re-examine the impacts of the project on property owners and the environment and to hold new hearings on the project.
The agreement calls for WisDOT to complete its review within 12 months. (See the agreement here.)
This development is a significant victory for the environment and for taxpayers. While it does not necessarily mean that the four lane project is dead, it does mean that the public will have a new opportunity for real input in what any reconstruction of the highway will look like.
1000 Friends has fought the projects for many years, contending that the 4 lane highway was not justified by traffic counts or safety considerations. We also opposed the project on the grounds that it unnecessarily destroyed wetlands, took away farmland and cost too much. We also argued that the DOT never conducted appropriate hearings on the project.
The agreement addresses all of the concerns that 1000 Friends brought forth in the lawsuit. We are pleased that WisDOT has agreed to address our concerns and look forward to working with WisDOT over the next 12 months to develop a better highway 23 project.