OSHKOSH — Oshkosh drivers are breathing a little easier after the reopening of two majors roads this week. First, it was the Jackson-Oregon Street bridge, which reopened to traffic Wednesday after being closed for six months. Then, it was Algoma Boulevard, which opened to cars for the first time in eight months on Friday.
Oshkosh Director of Public Works James Rabe explained the vast amount of work that the project entailed:
“Algolma Boulevard is a complete reconstruction. Completely reconstructed all the sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main, pretty much sidewalk throughout the entire project.”
Rabe understands the frustration the closure caused residents, but thinks the changes will be beneficial long term.
“It was tough having it closed all summer," he said, "but I think, at the end of the day, the people driving on it now…it is a major improvement and I think people are going to be very pleased with how this turned out.”
Algoma Boulevard runs right through the heart of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and students there were perhaps more heavily impacted by the construction than anyone else. Student Peter Schmude says the construction made his trip to class much less safe.
“It was not very pleasant," he said, "because I like to ride electric longboards. So the road was like, not open, so a lot of loose gravel and everything. I’m not trying to like crash or anything.”
Some other students though, actually got accustomed to not having to deal with cars on their commute.
“Coming here, seeing all these cars on the road now, it’s kind of like a shock.” said student Samuel Maceno. "As a commuter it’s gonna be difficult trying to get used to the new traffic, but I think everyone’s gonna adjust pretty quickly.” he continued.