Renewed push for Highway 15 bypass after tragic accident

HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) -- The images of Thursday's accident outside of Hortonville draw renewed attention to Highway 15 and raise questions about its safety.

"Highway 15 is a very busy stretch of highway," said David DeTroye, Hortonville Village Administrator. "I drive it daily, commute to work to and from. Obviously, times of the day matter, A.M. is ridiculous, kids coming into the village for school."

That is where Noah Taylor, 10, of Kaukauna was going when the car he was riding in crashed head on into a Hortonville Area School District school bus.

DeTroye believes the death might have been avoided with the Highway 15 Bypass Project.

"With this fatality, it unfortunately becomes the 15th or 16th fatality since the project's been stalled," he said. "So, it's astronomical, and every life we can save is one that we need to."

In a news conference last month, local public officials gathered to ask lawmakers to prioritize the project which has been delayed for two decades.

The project would expand the two-lane highway to four lanes and reroute traffic around downtown areas.

"I would say everything we're doing is making a difference," said DeTroye. "The unfortunate side is we get told from one side the other side is responsible, and the other side, we reach out to them and we're told the other side is responsible, so it's been a back and forth game."

He says people have been calling the Hortonville Municipal Building after hearing about the accident in search of ways to help. He urges people to contact their state representatives to voice support for the Highway 15 project.

"This was a 10-year-old kid. I have one of those at home, and I can't even imagine," said DeTroye. "It makes me feel like I'm not doing enough to help this project, and that's a tough feeling, and I feel for all parties involved."

Governor Tony Evers included the project in his proposed biennial budget, but it still needs to be approved by state lawmakers.

"I think, what if that bus would have had kids on it? Or if that bus would have had kids? How much worse could this have been yesterday? One life was lost. That's too many already, and we just need to move on with this project and get it fixed," said DeTroye.