THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED…
How is anybody going to get to Lake Geneva this summer, as the virus is abating and minimized by ever-increasing vaccinations and the crowds of summer are calculated to grow to numbers not seen in fifty years? The roads leading to and from Lake Geneva are nothing short of roadblocking, time-consuming, and miserable paved ribbons of heated waiting and unexpected discontent.
The road known as Highway 50 to and from Interstate Highway 94, about thirty miles in length if measured from downtown Lake Geneva, is nothing but a single lane each way, beginning seven miles from the border of the city itself and running all the way to 94. What gives there? Only about a few miles of the road can be worked on at any one time so why put up the barricades and orange barrels for twenty-three of those miles, and why pave part of the side access with asphalt, force cars onto that, and then fail to put any kind of foundation under that asphalt? It’s downright dangerous, especially after the sun goes down.
Highway 67, running from Highway 50 north to and from Elkhorn, is closed. The detour is laborious and arcanely plotted, taking or having cars begin way up by the north end of Highway 12. Writing of Highway 12, by the way, is appropriate because it is going to be closed from Elkhorn to Lake Geneva in both directions, in June…for the rest of the summer.
So, how is it that visitors are supposed to get back and forth to Lake Geneva? Well, there’s always Highway 43, but no, that’s under construction for the major part of the summer, as well. Motor vehicles can come into Lake Geneva on Highway 50 from Delavan. They can also come up from the south if they stick to Highway 12 or 31. Highway H is still open, with only minimal road work going on there. When will the rural areas invest in quality road construction, like was done in building Highway 94 and Edwards Boulevard? Those highways are so well built that they only get torn up when the gas, electric, or sewer pipes running under them need replacing, which is also all too often.
An example of this kind of travel trouble for people trying to get back and forth to Lake Geneva was experienced by a GSR reporter on Monday afternoon. It took an hour and a half to traverse Highway 50 from Lake Geneva to Highway 94, the cars backed up from Paddock Lake heading east, moving only in fits and starts, as the traffic signals in that town have not been adjusted for the dramatic funneling down of weekend traffic.
Traveling to and from Chicago, where most of Lake Geneva’s out of town visitors come from to spend weekends, might best be accomplished by using Highway 12, but only moving from Lake Geneva toward the south. Highway 173, with minimal construction outside of Antioch in Illinois, can then be used to head east until running into Highway 94 further down. Highway 173 is only a two-lane road, however, and there are only three short bits of it where anyone can pass safely because of so much traffic moving in both directions.
There are no easy solutions right now for getting into and out of Lake Geneva on busy weekend days, so all travelers must gird themselves for a good bit of discomfort in making the trip. Will this new hardship, as the freedom of travel, eating out, and staying in motels and hotels spurs everyone to travel and have some post-virus fun, put a damper on Lake Geneva’s economic recovery? Only time will tell.
Parking is more expensive now in Lake Geneva, and it costs everyone eight bucks just to go to the beach (yes, kids too). A family of four pays 32 dollars for getting into the beach and then twelve dollars, or so, for parking. The ability of Lake Geneva to attract tourists is being damaged in many unique ways.