November 3, 2023
By Lane Kimble
HORTONVILLE, Wis. — There was almost a collective sigh of relief to go along with the applause at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Outagamie County late last week.
For a long time, it seemed like Highway 15 near Hortonville would never get the much needed expansion and safety improvements it deserved.
After years of discussion, the state chose its preferred corridor for the work back in 2007. The TPC enumerated the project in 2011, and WisDOT scheduled it for construction in 2017. Then, budget constraints led to cutbacks and delays.
Despite the delays, the urgency remained. Over a seven-year stretch, there were more than 400 crashes, more than 100 injuries, and 15 people were killed.
Community leaders kept at it and work finally began in 2021 to expand the highway to four lanes along an 11-mile stretch, add a bypass around Hortonville, and roundabouts on either end.
“The people here in Hortonville and Outagamie County have been very patient and they’ve been very persistent because this is important. And it’s important, not just to Hortonville, but this entire region,” Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said.
It was a $138 million Majors project that Zignego Company, Michels Corporation, and Integrity Grading & Excavating, Inc. — along with plenty of additional WTBA members as primes and subs — helped see through completion.
“We (the companies) all try and specialize in different aspects of road building and when we bring all of our efforts together we can bring the state the best value,” Zignego Company President Dan Zignego said.
“At the end of the day, it’s a better product, we’re improving people’s lives, we’re making their lives safer and we’re giving them roadways that they can enjoy for 50 to 70 years.”