Fish Hatchery Road

Expect to see orange barrels line Fish Hatchery Road north of McKee Road for two years starting next spring.

The reconstruction project on 1.5 miles of Fish Hatchery Road will be completed over two years, rather than one, as had been planned previously.

The Common Council made that decision in accepting a $20.3 million bid for the project at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

That bid came in $2.5 million lower than the lowest bid in the original bidding process, which the council rejected Aug. 27, but still $3.1 million over the engineer’s estimate for the project.

Staff comments in a council packet memo suggested the higher costs are a new normal the city should accept and added that county staff agreed to seek additional funding from the Dane County Board as a result of the high bids.

Before the project was rebid out in October, city staff changed aspects of the project to reduce costs, including changing the schedule to span two years to be less “aggressive” and using recycled concrete in the lower levels of the road.

Bids also came in higher when originally posted because of the timing of the bids, which occurred during the months when construction contractors are usually busier, so the new bidding process was planned to work better with that timing.

The first phase of the Fish Hatchery Road reconstruction project will include the portion of the road between the Beltline to Traceway Drive in 2020. The second phase, which runs from Traceway Drive to Brendan Avenue, will be completed in 2021.

The project will reconstruct all six lanes of both north- and southbound Fish Hatchery Road, improve traffic flow at the eight intersections along the road, replace five failing retaining walls, mitigate flooding through stormwater improvements and add landscape planting and decorative paving.

The project will also include the construction of a bridge on the edge of the Nine Springs Golf Course property for a multi-use path. The city is planning legal action in Dane County Circuit Court to gain permission to build that path, as it violates a more than 30 year old deed restriction for Nine Springs Golf Course.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.