Brown County applied for and received a nearly $20 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is the county’s largest federal road grant to date.
The money will be used to build an interchange at Highway 29 and Highway VV. Highway 29 is a main east-west roadway leading to and from Green Bay.
Cole Runge, Brown County's principal urban planner, said the area is building up and safety is of concern.
"We're beginning to urbanize in that area and this project is actually the final component of a project that has been going on for almost 20 years which is the conversion of the Highway 29 corridor in Brown County from an expressway to a freeway," Runge said.
Runge said expressways have cross traffic, whereas freeways have on and off ramps and are largely considered to be safer. Highway 29 is often used by school busses and trucks from area businesses. The area is also seeing an increase in residential properties.
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The nearby villages of Hobart and Howard will each pay $3.2 million toward the project. And Brown County will chip in $1.5 million as well.
Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said the new infrastructure is vital to having a "safe and vibrant community," and pointed out that Brown County’s western district is becoming more populated. He also thanked the villages of Howard and Hobart for having "all hands on deck."
"We were able to essentially receive the funding for what is a state (highway) system but we were able to leverage federal dollars to help," Streckenbach said. "There are many people applying for this grant and they ultimately have to pick the one that they see has the ability to pay for it at the local level."
Once designs for the on ramps and off ramps are done, work is expected to begin in 2020 or 2021. In order to get the full federal funding work must be done by 2025