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Buckeye Road press conference

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announce an agreement over the reconstruction of Cottage Grove Road Tuesday. 

Minutes after being sworn into office Tuesday, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced the city and Dane County reached an agreement over the reconstruction of Buckeye Road.

The project, which was at a standstill under former mayor Paul Soglin’s administration, will reconstruct Buckeye Road — or County Highway AB — from Monona Drive to Stoughton Road, including adding sidewalks where there are none, curbs, gutters and storm sewers.

Under the agreement, Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the city and county would share the cost of reconstruction, and Dane County would maintain jurisdiction. The county will continue to plow snow on Buckeye Road this winter with the city picking up winter maintenance in the 2020-2021.

“As our city and our county continue to grow and development pressures result in increased and changing traffic patterns, there's a need for better communication and collaboration on how best to meet these challenges,” Rhodes-Conway said. “We are committed to that work in full partnership. “

Under the agreement, the county would fund $1.5 million of the project, with the city contributing $1.7 million, according to Parisi’s chief of staff Josh Wescott. The city would fund water and sewer improvements on Buckeye Road at a cost of about $1.94 million.

Paris noted that the city and county share challenges, priorities and opportunities.

“This is a solid, concrete -- literal and figurative -- example of what you can achieve when you work together for the common good,” Parisi said.

The city and county executives also announced a willingness to work together on the estimated $7.5 million reconstruction of Cottage Grove Road, or County Highway BB.

This project would reconstruct the road from Interstate 39 to Sprecher Road into a four-lane, urban boulevard section. It would also replace much of the road including new pavement, curbs, gutters, bike lanes and sidewalks.

“The county will continue to maintain the road going forward as the county executive and I and our staff continue to talk about that policy in the long term,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Current cost estimates for Cottage Grove Road reconstruction include $1.5 million from the county, $2.6 million from the city and a federal share of $3.5 million, according to Wescott. The county will continue maintenance on Cottage Grove Road with a future conversation about plowing once the project is completed in 2021.

Under Soglin’s administration, the city and county were unable to come to an agreement over the longterm maintenance of Buckeye Road and unsuccessfully traded offers back and forth.

Rhodes-Conway said it was important to get the reconstruction project moving forward in 2019 and that it was the most “pressing” issue. Additionally, she said it was important the community knows she and Parisi are committed to working together.

“It’s also important to signal to our entire community that we are operating under a new spirit of collaboration between the city and the county and the city and many other bodies in our community,” Rhodes-Conway said.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.

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