Residents say Highway 78 is falling apart after 2009 repairs

Residents say Highway 78 is falling apart after 2009 repairs

It was a full house at a meeting in Merrimac Wednesday night as residents shared their concerns with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation over what they believe is a deteriorating and dangerous road.

Highway 78 was redone in 2009 for around $9 million, according to the DOT, but drivers said it’s falling apart.

Take a cruise on Highway 78 between Prairie du Sac and Merrimac and you’ll understand Dean Voeks frustration.

“It is a constant jostle, your body shakes, your teeth rattle,” Voeks said. “The drive is horrendous.”

Voeks created a petition calling on Gov. Scott Walker and the DOT to get it repaired.

“I started it last Friday. I was hoping to have more than 100 signatures before the meeting and we have over 300. I’m shooting for 1,000 now,” Voeks said.

John Steiner, who works for the DOT, was at Merrimac’s town hall Wednesday to meet with people like Voeks.

“It’s a problem we are going to have to deal with and we are looking for a solution for,” Steiner said. “We know that some water got trapped between the base layer and the pavement and once it freezes it starts heaving and it just keeps perpetuating each year.” Steiner said.

Steiner said a large project will likely have to happen, but he is unsure what that will be and said the DOT needs to do further investigations.

“That’s what bothers me,” Voeks said. “Is that the contractor was able to construct a road that deteriorated that quickly and now we have to spend money to get it into a drivable condition.”

The DOT said time has run out to hold the contractors financially responsible for any of the mistakes.