Businesses prepare for long closure of busy west side thoroughfare

Businesses prepare for long closure of busy west side thoroughfare

Businesses located near the site of a busy west side bridge are preparing to deal with inconvenienced customers when the road closes for bridge reconstruction next week.

The High Point Road bridge over the Beltline will be shut down for seven months beginning Monday, as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation widens it to accommodate four lanes of traffic, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Segments of Madison’s planned West Towne Path will also be constructed along High Point Road and the Beltline, according to a WisDOT news release.

WisDOT project manager David Layton said the most recent traffic counts show 16,800 cars per day travel over the 49-year-old bridge.

Kerry Conway, the salon coordinator for Oasis Spa & Salon, located in the Princeton Club off High Point and Watts Road, said she doesn’t expect the closure to hurt business significantly, but added that the inconvenience could keep some new clients away.

“I feel like it’s definitely going to be a little difficult for people to adapt to,” Conway said. “If they have to take a complete roundabout way to get here, it’s out of their timeframe and that’s going to prevent people from getting here.”

Conway said lots of customers travel over the bridge coming south from Middleton or other parts of the west side. She said staff members plan to give directions to clients on how to navigate around the construction.

“Once we get it down, we’ll be able to tell other people, ‘This is the best route from where you’re coming,'” Conway said.

North of the Beltline, Kayla Adkins, assistant manager at Vera’s House of Bridals, said staff at the bridal shop aren’t worried about traffic concerns keeping customers away, as the shop is accessible from Mineral Point Road.

“Whenever there’s road construction, we see how that affects the business. However, we’re lucky enough to be right off of the Beltline,” Adkins said.

Adkins said while a lot of customers from the Verona and Mount Horeb areas could be somewhat delayed, the nature of a bridal business means a road closure won’t deter them from shopping there.

“Once people have their mind (made up) that they want to come here, they’re coming here regardless if they have to go a different route to get here,” Adkins said. “We can at least have them go through Mineral Point or off the Beltline to come visit us.”

Both Conway and Adkins said they’re excited for when the project is expected to finally finish in September, leading to what they hope will be much-needed traffic improvements, meaning quicker access to their businesses.

“It can be really difficult to pull in and out of Mineral Point, so it will be nice just to have more access routes that way too,” Adkins said.

“In the long run, having it down for a little while to make it more accessible and easy for people will be great,” Conway said. “We just have to bear through it.”

High Point Road will be closed to traffic between Watts Road and D’Onofrio Drive. The detour route will use Mineral Point Road, South Junction Road and Watts Road.

Officials said motorists can also expect periodic nighttime lane closures on the Beltline. Full Beltline closures will be utilized on a limited basis to remove the existing bridge and set new beams. Beltline closures are planned from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Feb. 8-9 and Feb. 13-14. The detour route will use Mineral Point Road and Gammon Road.