Brown County Highway Department making slow progress on Highway ZZ

By Brian Roebke
“Before winter” is the estimated completion date of the Highway ZZ construction project north of Wrightstown from Clay Street to Highway 32/57.
Those are the words of Brown County Public Works Director Paul Fontecchio, frustrated by the weather that has plagued the department both this summer and now early fall.
Frequent two-inch rainfalls have slowed the project, the same thing all contractors have fought this year.
“Right now it feels very much like early October, not early September, and these two-inch rainstorms that happen every other day, they don’t help,” he said. “We’re making forward progress but it’s slow going.”
Wet earth is hard to move, and with continued rain, it’s hard to dry, especially when weather the last week has been highs in the 60s with cloudy skies.
“It just gets perpetually wet,” he said. “We actually talked this morning at our Monday morning meeting that what are we going to do if we can’t count on Mother Nature helping us.”
There are options, but they come with a cost.
“We’re under the gun here to get this done before winter,” he said.
Because of the number of pipes they’ve placed under the road bed, the highway department is planning to hold the final level of asphalt for a couple years in case there is settling of the ground.
The surface layer will be paved when the portion of the project toward the village of Wrightstown is completed.
“That’s a good way to make sure that your final, final product is nice,” he said.
This is similar to the Outagamie County portion of the Highway ZZ project between Rapid Croche Park and Highway Z, where the final driving layer of asphalt was recently laid after being reconstructed a year ago.