New Highway 10 set to open Thursday - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New Highway 10 set to open Thursday

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NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) -

A major highway construction project will be opening in our area this week. That's 23 years after planning for the new Highway 10 first started.

The new Highway 10 will offer a quicker route between Marshfield and Stevens Point.

Leaders on both ends of the project say they're anxious to see the benefits and on Thursday, it will finally open.

"We're really excited about the expansion," Sara Brish, executive director for the Stevens Point Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

The project has been years in the making and transportation officials say it will make a big difference. It will cut the hour-long drive from Marshfield to Stevens Point down to 40 minutes.

"Allows us to connect them more efficiently and more safely," WI Department of Transportation Project Development Supervisor Michael Kretschmer said.

Planning for the project began in 1989, and the groundbreaking was seven years ago. Now, part of the road is open on each side. The only thing left is to connect the middle, which is set for Thursday.

"If there's more traffic, there's more opportunity. More opportunity leads to economic development," Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Director Scott Larson said.

Transportation leaders say more people will travel the new road. By 2030, they estimate about 3,000 more drivers per day.

"Because of the sheer ease of driving between the communities that allows for recreation and commerce to happen on both sides," Brish said.

Officials say there are plenty of benefits. But as Newsline 9 has reported, five small communities will be by-passed by the new road. Some business owners we spoke with said they'll be fine and transportation officials agree.

"We are signing for all of those communities, so the traffic traveling through there will still see those signs and get to those communities," Kretschmer said.

But before the road opens, there's a celebration. A ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Highway 10 is set for Tuesday.

The project carries a hefty price tag of around $250 million.

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