Public presentation of Jefferson County Interurban Trail Phase III in Ixonia

Public Presentation of Jefferson County Interurban Trail Phase III in Ixonia

On Thursday night at Ixonia’s town hall, officials introduced Phase III of the Jefferson County Interurban Trail. Recreational path phases I and II extend from Watertown into Phase III. The eastern terminus of Phase III will be at the county boundary between Jefferson and Waukesha counties, while its western beginning will be at County Highway F in Ixonia.

The trail’s extension to Oconomowoc is Waukesha County’s responsibility. Scott Hoggatt, owner of VeloCity Cycling in Pewaukee, “This extension is super exciting,” “We are particularly pleased about the connection to the Lake Country Recreational Trail.”

Hoggatt noted the rising need for bike lanes such as the Interurban Trail. Cyclists are growing increasingly concerned of roadways with increasing volumes and speeds of motor vehicle traffic due to safety concerns. “This is fantastic, wonderful,” he said. It is the hope of the city’s planners that a trail will one day connect Watertown to the lakefront and Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee.

The multi-use path within the We Energies corridor is currently being built by county officials and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in Jefferson County. To carry out the design, the county has hired KL Engineering, Inc. The trail follows the route of the abandoned Interurban Rail Line, which is presently used by We Energies and ATC for utility purposes. The asphalt surface of the trail will be ten feet in width.

Public presentation of Jefferson County Interurban Trail Phase III in Ixonia
Public presentation of Jefferson County Interurban Trail Phase III in Ixonia

Depending on grant funding, Truman estimates that construction on the Jefferson County section of Phase III will be finished in 2024 or 2025. She also mentioned that the entire four-mile link could be finished by the year 2026. Currently, it is expected that $2.6 million will be needed to complete the trial.

Truman stated that the county would contribute to the project’s funding alongside funds from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Walt Christensen, chairman of the Jefferson County Parks Committee, was excited about what Phase III could bring to the county.

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“We are looking forward to (grant) support on this project from the state,” he said. “It’s been so long in the making, with so much dedication from people like (late county supervisor) Augie Tietz.” Christensen described the path as “an interdepartmental effort,”  Jefferson County Highway Department, was talking to one set of people while Kevin Wiesmann, director of parks for the county, was talking to another.

Christensen claimed that the idea has the backing of the county’s executive branch. Ben Wehmeier, the administrator of Jefferson County, has also been working on this for quite some time.

“There’s no doubt about the support for this,” Christensen said. “If there would be any problems, they are solvable. This is resident-friendly, outdoor recreation. Springtime is here and we want to see people get out there on their bikes.”

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