Map to nowhere? Village removing bypass concept

In 2008, the Baldwin Village board approved placing a concept for a bypass of Hwy 63 around the east edge of town. The concept – not an approved plan ¬ has been on the village’s official map ever since, but will soon be removed.

The village board voted to remove the bypass May 12. Village Administrator Tracy Carlson explained to the board she was on a call with a real estate broker, Bill Rubin of St. Croix Economic Development and a Department of Transportation (DOT) planning engineer officials and the topic of bypass concepts and maps came up. 

Carlson said numerous times the topic of the HWY 63 bypass has come up when people have inquired about property east of the village. Persons interested in buying property have asked about where the bypass is going and what is happening with the project. Carlson tells people that the project is not on any budgetary lists and that it probably won’t happen for quite some time, but it is there.

“People would run away from that,” Carlson said. “They just don’t want anything to do with it.”

Carlson told the board the reason for the call she was on was that there was an interested party in developing land east of the village and they were concerned about the bypass. 

During the conversation with the DOT, they indicated they have not mapped the bypass and it is only a concept that was created in 2008. There currently is no scheduled time for the bypass to move on. If they determine a bypass is needed, it will be a minimum of seven years to add it to their budgetary schedule. 

A trigger for the bypass is an extensive amount of congestion on Hwy. 63, they did not indicate where the congestions would be on to cause the project to be considered. Carlson was told the bypass can by eliminated by board action and updating the official map.

“It can be eliminated and it’s not a concept anymore,” Carlson said. “It’s as simple as that.”

The DOT representative on the call explained since the bypass is a concept, DOT has no say on official maps. If things do change, the DOT will return to the board to do another concept and may shift the route of the bypass further east or west or reconfigure it all together. That is what happened in 2008.

Carlson outlined the procedure to update the official map, with an ordinance and action by the planning commission with a public hearing.

“We need to remove this because it is a problem,” Board President Lance Van Damme said. “It’s causing people to steer clear of Baldwin, so that’s my motion to remove it.”

The board passed a motion to remove the bypass from the official map.

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