Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates. This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director Robb Kahl
Public, Elected Officials, Judges and Prosecutors Must Do More to Protect Workers in Construction Zones
Last week, a 25-year-old union construction worker lost his life when a young driver hit him and a trailer along Highway 23 in Sauk County. According to initial reports, the fiber optic work zone was properly marked. Whether the driver will be charged with any criminal or other violations is unknown at this time.

However, just last month, Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Steve Cain dismissed felony charges against a person who drove through a work zone on I-43. The driver claimed he swerved to avoid hitting a dump truck and, in doing so, entered the work zone through a break in the concrete barriers separating the work zone from the traffic lane.

Rather than stop once he swerved, the driver continued through the work zone for nearly 3/4 mile at speeds of 45-70 miles per hour. While there was some disagreement as to the speed, there was no dispute that the driver did not stop. The work zone was active. Two operating engineers were on equipment when they were passed by the vehicle.

According to Judge Cain, the evidence presented by the prosecutor at a preliminary hearing was insufficient to show the driver created an unreasonable risk of harm or had conscious disregard for the safety of others. How Judge Cain could reach such a conclusion at a preliminary hearing—a proceeding to determine only whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial—is astonishing.

The driver DID NOT STOP once he entered the work zone. He continued driving through the work zone, with workers present, and didn’t stop until he was pulled over several miles down I-43. What’s worse is that the driver of the vehicle is himself a construction worker, which means he knows how dangerous it is for workers in live traffic, although the prosecutor failed to present this fact to Judge Cain at the preliminary hearing.

These two recent incidents are examples of a much bigger problem. The public, elected officials, judges and even prosecutors often fail to appreciate that the men and women of the construction trades put their lives at risk every day to ensure that our roads get people and goods where they need to go, our internet is reliable and fast, and our electricity turns on when we need it. People treat work zones as inconveniences and routinely ignore work zone signs and traffic laws.

According to WisDOT, there is a work zone crash every three hours in Wisconsin, which is nearly 2,500 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003-2020, two thousand two hundred and twenty two (2,222) construction workers were killed on road construction sites. Add fiber optic and other utility worker fatalities, and vehicle driver and passenger fatalities, and the numbers are even more staggering.

Until people like Judge Cain take work zone safety seriously, we have no hope of properly protecting the men and women of the construction trades. Please remind your neighbors to follow work zone safety signs and laws and remind elected officials, judges and prosecutors that reckless driving and other laws must be enforced.
Building Wisconsin Together®
Filling the Workforce Pipeline

November 2022 Externship Days
As part of Wisconsin’s celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, 840 students, parents, and teachers from 64 school districts toured the Coloma training center in November over 6 separate days. This fall’s event was limited to smaller numbers to accommodate the ongoing expansion of the training center. Given the many schools on the waiting list, it is clear that many districts consider this a must-do experience for their students.

Thank you to the following contractors that joined us for the event:
  • The Boldt Company
  • James Peterson & Sons
  • Mathy Construction
  • Michels Corporation
  • Miron Construction
  • The Walbec Group
Industry News
From the News Stand
Updated Study Recommends I-94 Expansion;
Public Hearings Scheduled for Dec. 12 & 14
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has recommended the 3.5-mile I-94 East-West Freeway in Milwaukee be expanded from six to eight lanes -- setting the stage for the next major project in the reconstruction of the southeastern Wisconsin freeway system. WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced last Friday the completion of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement that lists reconstructing I-94 as a modernized 8-lane facility and reconstructing the Stadium Interchange as a diverging diamond interchange as the preferred alternative.
WisDOT has scheduled two public hearings in December to preview the project and provide opportunity to accept public comment:
·   Monday, December 12, 2022, at Wisconsin State Fair Park, Tommy Thompson Youth Center,
Gate #5, 640 S. 84th Street, Milwaukee from 3-7 p.m.

·   Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at Marquette University High School,
3401 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee from 4-7 p.m.
Provisions have been made for the submission of written statements or other exhibits in place of or in addition to the verbal testimony presented at the public hearings. This additional testimony will be included in the hearing record if postmarked no later than Jan. 17, 2023. Additional written testimony can be sent directly to:
Joshua LeVeque, P.E.
Project Manager
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Southeast Region Office
141 NW Barstow Street
PO Box 798
Waukesha, WI 53187-0798
FHWA will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) at the conclusion of the comment period, which will be the project's second ROD. The first was issued in 2016 and was rescinded a year later when the state couldn't advance funding for the project. WTBA members are encouraged to voice support for this long-delayed project so rebuilding this critical freeway link can proceed in a manner that ensures long-term mobility, safety and economic development in the region and state.
Wisconsin Residents Vote on School Referenda Questions
Wisconsin’s 2022 fall election marked a high-water moment for school referenda on ballots. 166 school referenda questions were posed to voters this year, the most since 2000, when voters decided on 192 school district referenda questions.
2000′s total was before limits on how many times a school district could place referenda questions on ballots in a calendar year and when a referendum could take place. 81 referenda questions were on ballots in Tuesday’s election.
Of the 166 items on ballots this year, 74 were questions seeking authority to borrow money for facilities projects. 25 of 35 referenda items for such projects were approved by voters earlier in the year, with 39 referenda questions in front of voters across Wisconsin in the fall election. Click link for DPI's Referenda Results.
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