Brown County Highway Department picking up pace on Highway ZZ

Brian Roebke photos
The Brown County Highway Department is currently working on a tie-back wall on Highway ZZ in the village of Wrightstown. Once finished, there will be a 15-ft. wide concrete area between the street and a parapet wall along the Fox River.

By Brian Roebke
It’s been a long couple of years for folks who drive Highway ZZ north of Wrightstown for the past couple of years.
The road that was built alongside the Fox River many years ago finally started to deteriorate and fall into the river, leading to closures of portions of the road for months at a time before money was available from Brown County to repair the road.
The pace picked up earlier in the year when crews began putting pilings into the shoreline near Mallard Road.
That work is completed, and currently pilings are being done closer to the village.
Brown County Public Works Director Paul Fontecchio noted those are two separate projects.
The sewage treatment plant is approximately the dividing line.
Brown County secured federal and state funding for the portion of the highway from Clay Street to the plant, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Vinton Construction of Two Rivers is the prime contractor, with McMullen & Pitz Construc-tion from Manitowoc the subcontractor doing the wall.
The county highway department is doing its own work north of the treatment plant, having started earth work on that section with pavement to come soon north to Mallard Road.
“We’re a step ahead of the other project because we have our wall done and they’re just starting their wall on the DOT portion,” he said.
Fontecchio is predicting all of the work will be done by the end of September or early October, when it will be completely open to traffic.
Local residents still have access to their properties during construction.
Once that’s done, there will be one portion of the road that needs to be completed, on the north end, that will be finished by the fall of 2022.
“Anywhere we have old road, we’ve got to do that next year,” he said. “I hope in my career to never have to go back.”
He said once this project is completed, it’s a game changer because the stretch of road will be “super cool” because of the view of the river.
A parapet wall will go from Clay Street up to the treatment plant, plus another section of the wall by Mallard Road.
“I will say that section of ZZ will be one of the best Sunday drives that you’ll get in the county because it’s going to be a gorgeous drive right along the river,” he said.
A 15-foot wide concrete sidewalk will be sort of a “boardwalk” along that stretch, giving people “a pretty cool place to be right by the river,” Fontecchio said.
All of this is possible because the entire road was close to the river, and there were areas the county could not get enough (or any) right of way to move the road away from the river.
Thus, the steel pilings that keep the shoreline in place.
Fontecchio said the county did not request the water level in the Fox River to be as low as it is right now in Wrightstown but said it certainly helps their crews. 
It appears Mother Nature can be blamed for that since it was a quite dry winter.
He thinks the high water level a year ago probably contributed to the road sliding toward the water, speeding up the problems.