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The Worst Roads in Menomonee Falls

Menomonee Falls Patch met with Director of Engineering Tom Hoffman to identify the roads in the greatest need of repair in Menomonee Falls. What roads would you add to the list?

Tumbling around in a four-wheel-drive Jeep over rough terrain through the uncharted backcountry of the African wilderness is a great escape for those with an adventurous spirit.

However, that same experience isn’t quite the same when traversing the rough terrain of Menomonee Avenue while taking the children to soccer practice.

If you wince and feel a tinge of pain every time your car tire slams violently into a crack or pothole in the pavement, there are some roads you may want to avoid in the village. Menomonee Falls Patch met with the village’s Director of Engineering Tom Hoffman to identify some of the village’s most deteriorated roads, and examine the process the village takes to identify and repair them.

Identifying troubled roads

Hoffman said the village maintains about 220 miles of roads in the village. Every other year, the Engineering Department assesses the roadways using a standardized evaluation system that assigns a numeric value to the condition of a road.

A road rated at a 10 is basically a newly constructed or paved road free of blemishes. A road rated at a 1 is considered a failed roadway turning into rubble and in need of total reconstruction. The village tracks these roads with a color-coded map that illustrates the condition of all village roads.

“We don’t have any 1s but we have a couple 2s,” said Hoffman as he looked over a map filled with green (excellent roads) and red (roads in need of repair) roadways in Menomonee Falls.

Roads rated at a 2 have severe distortions, potholes, extensive patching and what is called alligator cracking. Alligator cracking gives the pavement the appearance of alligator scales.

With the number scale in mind, here are some of the worst sections of road rated at a 2 to drive in Menomonee Falls in no particular order:

  • Menomonee Avenue from Sunset Ridge to Fleet Avenue
  • Pilgrim Road from Main Street to US Highway 41/45
  • Main Street from US Highway 41/45 to 124th Street
  • Cleveland Avenue from Pilgrim Road to Jefferson Avenue
  • Shady Lane from Menomonee Avenue to Main Street
  • Warren Street form Lilly Road to Highway 145
  • Streets in the Starlight Manor Subdivision
  • Fleet Avenue, Donald Court and Elsie Avenue
  • Blair Lane and Susan Avenue
  • Streets in the Menomonee Manor Subdivision
  • Duke Street from Princeway Drive to Queensway Street

For Hoffman, Menomonee Avenue seems to top the list in terms of roads that are in need of repair.

“That’s the one I get quite a few complaints asking when I’m going to rebuild that roadway,” Hoffman said. “I get a lot of calls on that one.”

What order would you place these roadways in? Would you add others?

“I’d be interested to see what people think are the worst roads in Menomonee Falls,” Hoffman said.

Turning 2s into 10s

Roadwork and maintenance in Menomonee Falls is a never-ending operation for the Engineering Department. Annually, the village spends approximately $2 million to preserve roads. Depending on the rated condition of the road, the village has a protocol for crack filling, applying a slag seal, base patching and replacing curbs and gutters.

Hoffman said they try to target higher rated, or less deteriorated, roads to preserve their integrity longer. That way, the village can target the roads in the red, or those in need of reconstruction.

“One of the things you want to do is keep water out of the pavement. Because if water gets in it will soften the pavements and you get a freeze thaw effect,” Hoffman said. “We have a lot more roads in the red than greens. We try to keep the greens green by doing this maintenance so we have the ability to go attack the reds.”

However, the village is in a continuous battle to stay on top of roads as garbage trucks pulverize the curbs, and freeze and thaw cycles ravage the pavement. Annually, the village can only apply slag seal and asphalt to about 14 total miles of roads.

So by the time workers complete maintenance on the full circuit of village roads every 15 years, they are essentially back to where they started.

Why some roads remain in poor shape

Some of the roads that made the list on Menomonee Falls Patch are slated for reconstruction this summer. However, you may be asking why a road in obvious need of repair sits idle while it continues to look more and more like the back of an alligator.

The answer to that question is not what’s on the surface. It’s what lies beneath.

Hoffman said the condition of the water mains and sewer structures that are beneath the road determine when reconstruction projects begin. Although the road is in terrible shape, it’s not financially sound to reconstruct the road until the village can fund water main and sewer projects beneath.

“Unfortunately, a lot of these roads in the red have water mains underneath them from the 1950s,” Hoffman said. “We can’t really do the road above until we fix the main below.”

Village engineers prioritize water main projects by pinpointing the water mains with the highest number of breaks. The water main underneath Cleveland Avenue has broke 14 times since 2004, and is pegged for reconstruction this summer.

Nate April 26, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Lilly Road between Good Hope and Silver Spring and Mill Road between Lilly Road and Pilgrim Road really chaffs my pants......especially when I drive over them. Roads by Shady Lane Elementary. As I wrote in a different text, some of these roads appear to have suffered earthquakes and perhaps hosted a few Middle East riots.
Carl Engelking April 26, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Thanks Nate. Tom Hoffman was interested to see what other roads people think are in need of repair. I drive through the Pilgrim Rd and Main St intersection almost every day. That's a rough intersection, however they did do some patching (no pun intended) there a few weeks ago.
Nate April 26, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Good pun Carl. The village puts so much emphasis on buildings, landscaping, and lighting, when they could easily turn that attention to underneath their feet. I can't say this enough though, the slag method of painting the road and dumping gravel on top is nothing but a placebo to the underlying illness. There was way to much praise for this procedure going on throughout the neighborhoods, most likely because of the time and money it didn't take.
Kay April 27, 2011 at 12:40 AM
They rated Menomonee Ave. as one of the worst, but didn't say if they will be repairing it! They did all the sewer work but the road has been so bad for a couple years now.
Annette April 27, 2011 at 12:47 AM
I thought my shockes went when I drove on Shady Lane between Main St and Menomonee Ave.
Stevie April 27, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Has anybody driven Lannon Road between Silver Spring and Lisbon Road earlier this spring? The last patch job lasted a year. Last year I may have lost a mailbox post to a driver trying to manuever the up-heavels....he was pulled out of the ditch and was never to be seen again. This early spring was worse but has not needed the reduced speed limit signs altho the rough road signs stay up all year around. Check it out!
Nate April 27, 2011 at 01:58 AM
But let us all be thankful that we don't live in Milwaukee. We'd be crawling out of sinkholes. Or destroying your car in potholes if you're lucky.
nmj94jd April 27, 2011 at 01:00 PM
I have to agree with the article that Pilgrim Road, right around the Hwy 45 ramp is HORRIBLE. Considering that there is always talk of needing to improve the business atmosphere on that end of Main Street, I cannot see why we would allow that entrance to Menomonee alls to be in such awful condition. It makes for a really bad impression for people coming into The Falls.
holly April 27, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Yes Annette I know exactly what your talking about.. that huge pothole got me too..Both sides of shady lane there are bad!
dorothy April 27, 2011 at 02:19 PM
I would add TOWN HALL ROAD between Main Street and Menomonee Avenue. The asphalt is crackling and buckling. This is a major thoroughfare to get to the hospital and the medical clinics and establishments in Menomonee Falls. I believe it is time to completely repave this section.
Brian Dory April 27, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Cindy circle had the road torn up from the plows, taking the asphalt off the road.
Nate April 27, 2011 at 04:25 PM
I think that might be under consideration coinciding with the new Froedhert clinic.
Barb V April 27, 2011 at 05:23 PM
124th Street, North of Main, South of Q, where all the Waste Management and Veiola trucks have torn it up. That road needs to be 4 lanes, and all the HUGE corporations with trucks that carry heavy weights should share some of the cost.
Richard April 27, 2011 at 08:32 PM
All the roads in Shepard Hills Addition #2, Maryhill Dr, St. James, Duke, and Princeway are terrible. We also have serious drainage problems which the previous Village President promised us to repair and fix three years ago, to date we have heard nothing and are not sure where the current Village President stands on this issue. The recent rains on Tuesday produced the usual river down Maryhill Drive in front of our home, my visiting PT person came that day and asked if we always have a river, three feet wide, running in front of our home.
Mary Ann April 28, 2011 at 02:22 AM
I have to agree, Richard. I too have visitors ask when our street may be repaired. My husband got a flat tire trying to drive over a huge slab of ice that formed this winter because the homeowners sump pump on a corner empties into the street (Queensway) and just pools and freezes. All of the streets in this subdivision are embarrassing.
Kristine April 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM
I just drove down Patton, there are HUGE pot holes, the kind that could flatten your tires in the middle of the road and on the sides - really needs to be fixed

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