Oak Creek is preparing for the reconstruction of Pennsylvania Avenue, between Rawson to College avenues, set to begin in the spring of 2012.
By the time it's finished next fall, the road will be widened to four lanes, include accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians and feature improved street lighting.
In the meantime, the city will begin negotiating with property owners to acquire small portions of 13 parcels along Pennsylvania for right-of-way and easement purposes. The Common Council on Tuesday night authorized the city to begin those negotiations.
Alderman Dan Jakubczyk, whose district includes that section of Pennsylvania, said some residents are leery about the prospect of reconstruction, particularly its impact on their taxes.
City officials say they are trying to get a head start on educating residents about the road work. Two well-attended public information meetings have already been held, City Engineer Mike Simmons said.
"This is a big project that's going to be going on next year," City Administrator Gerald Peterson said. "It's a good idea to get information out early to the public, if we can, and talk with the public a couple times about what they can expect."
The state Department of Transportation is paying 80 percent of the $4.2 million cost, Simmons said. The remaining 20 percent is split between Oak Creek and South Milwaukee, which has jurisdiction over the east side of the road (Nicholson Road).
The other major road project in Oak Creek next year will be W. Drexel Avenue, which will be widened to four lanes next year to accommodate the new Drexel Interchange.