At the Lafayette County Highway Dept. meeting held Monday, Nov. 28 chair Dwayne Larson called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.
Tom Jean, Highway Commissioner, said he was upset the way this year’s budget cycle went. “We were told there was a freeze on raises. Then departments put raises in their budgets and Finance approved them.” Jean said, “I asked if I could give my guys a 2% raise and have the Highway budget absorb it and I was told no.” Jean continued, “I’m going into HR Friday to refill a position that retired and we’ll be lucky to find ten qualified people for that position, where we used to get eighty. There needs to be equity in pay in all the county departments.”
2017 - County O bridge north of Shullsburg will be reconstructed beginning early Spring.
2017 - STH 78 from Wiota to Argyle will be reconstructed by Iverson Construction from Kieler WI. The project will consist of all new drainage culverts, a new structure/bridge over Cherry Creek near Round Road, a reconstruction of the Spore Road intersection and a mill and overlay of the entire distance. Iverson, which is a division of Mathys Construction, was awarded the contract over two other bidders for $3.74 million.
2017- Finalize design for the CTH U bridge north of Shullsburg.
2017- Finalize design for the CTH I bridge near Richardson Lane south of New Diggings.
2017- Finalize design for the Holland Road bridge near Lange Road for Darlington and Willow Springs Townships.
2017- Finalize design for the Bethel Grove bridge near the entrance to Lake Joy for Belmont and Kendall Townships.
2017 -Possibly the construction of a new retaining wall along STH 81 in the City of Darlington near the Lafayette County Fairgrounds.
2018- Construction of all four bridges listed above.
Belmont - Platteville Trail is still being worked on, until the weather gets bad. A lot of the rock excavation for the trail has been done. A cattle pass and timber bridge south of Walmart is done. This is a bicycle and pedestrian trail.
The Belmont to Platteville trail is funded in two phases: Phase 1 is under construction now at a total cost of $1.2 million which includes design and construction. The TEA grant (Transportation Enhancement Award) is capped at $996,000 and the WI DNR has provided a matching grant of $249,000 to assist in the development of phase 1.
The second phase of the project, which will be mainly the paving of the trail, estimated at $920,000, will be funded by a TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program). The TAP grant award for phase 2 is in the amount of $716,720 with an additional award from the DNR through two different grant programs in the amount of $231,500.
Hopefully, Lafayette and Grant Counties will not have to add any money to these awards to get this completed, however there are some restrictions as to what parts of the project are eligible for reimbursement. The County costs should be minimal.
The committee endorsed a recommendation to rehire Tom Jean for Lafayette County Highway Commissioner. This will be sent on to HR and County Board. Jean has held the position for twelve years.
In other business: Paid October vouchers for $65,600; still doing snow fencing;
October Fund balances are looking good. No snow has allowed workers to work on the roads and no weekend overtime. Jean said, “As an example, this weekend after Thanksgiving we saved about $25,000 a day if we had a snow event and had to call the guys in.”
The state bought the county three anti-icing tanks. These tanks hold a brine mixture to do the anti-icing operation. The tanks are located in Shullsburg, Gratiot and Argyle. This is a pre-wet system that gets the salt wet, before the salt hits the pavement. This keeps the salt from bouncing off the road and it also activates the salt. This process saves 25% - 35% in salt. All the highways in the county receive this treatment, but certain areas - shady spots, bridges or other trouble spots get special attention.