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Highway Safety discusses ATV-UTV issues
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The quarterly Highway Safety Committee met on June 15, 2017, a discussion regarding ATV-UTV routes began with Lafayette County Sheriff, Reg Gill talking about a recent ATV crash that involved a fatality. It was stated that speed and alcohol were factors in the accident. Gill said, “Unfortunately we have created this problem, connecting all of these routes and tying one bar to the next bar. It was only a matter of time that something happened. 98% of the people who drive ATV’s or UTV’s are responsible people, but it does create this type of issue. The reason we have supported the trail growth is because we haven’t had this kind of problem, now we obviously do.”
    Dwayne Larson, committee member and county board supervisor, asked if this loophole in the law where ATVer’s can have open intoxicants in their vehicles – on the roads that are trails – are they still be operating within the boundaries of the law?  Gill said the Law Enforcement Committee has discussed creating an ordinance that will address this inconsistency in the law. This will need to be a Lafayette County ordinance to make it illegal.
    Gill continued, “The reason this ordinance is not completed is because we need to clean up the language in our current ATV-UTV ordinance regarding speed limits. The current speed limits on county roads is 30 mph. The language in the ordinance is not clear pertaining to the township roads. We need to clarify that all routes will be 30 mph.”
    Republican Journal note: to clarify - the trails that use county roads and township roads are governed by the DNR, because the ATV-UTV’s are traveling on a trail the DNR allows open intoxicants.
    The meeting continued with Ryan Mayer, Wisconsin SW Region Highway Traffic Operations – Speed Zones, looking into complaints for the intersection of Co. Hwy. O & Hwy. 11. Mayer stated he pulled a crash study on the intersection and found none in the last five years. He also conducted a speed study May 31 and thought the speed limit was appropriate. He sat at the intersection and could see vehicles (in both directions) for approximately eleven seconds. He stated it’s not an ideal intersection, but his investigation showed that the speed limit there was appropriate.
    A speed study will also be performed on Hwy. 81 to the west from Hwy. 23. It has been reported that several close calls have happened near WS Ag.
    Bob Bott, Regional Program Manager for the Bureau of Transportation Safety, spoke next. He reported the number of crashes in the state was down 2% and deaths were down almost 5% compared to last year. Compared to five year average the current numbers are high. Trace Frost the Law Enforcement Liaison was also involved in discussions.
    Gill, spoke about the county’s accident facts. From Jan. through May of 2017 there were 187 crashes, in those crashed 24 persons were injured and one fatality was recorded. 89 of the accidents were car versus deer.
    Jason King, Darlington Police Chief, reported the Galena Street ATV access request made by the City of Darlington was denied by the DOT without consulting the city.
    The committee discussed the increased traffic on Hwy. 81 west in the Wind Farm project area.
    The Amish members of the committee stated they asked Kendall Township chairman Mark Rehmstedt to put a stop sign on the intersection of Truman Road and North Lane Road (because of a blind spot) and said Rehmstedt thought the county wouldn’t approve that. Jean and Gill both said that wasn’t up to the county as both roads are township roads.
Highway Department
    At the Lafayette County Highway Dept. meeting held Thursday, June 15, 2017, the committee approved a discretionary maintenance agreement with the state.
    The agreement is for $60,000 to sealcoat Hwy 126. Tom Jean, Lafayette County Highway Commissioner, stated that should cover about four to five miles and he thinks it will cover from the Hwy. 126 exit from Hwy. 151 and go through the Village of Belmont. Village of Belmont will be seal coating the parking lanes in the village at the same time.
    A performance based maintenance agreement, also with the state, to seal coat from the City of Shullsburg to Hick’s Corner (intersection of Hwy. 11 & Hwy 23) was discussed.
Projects Updates
    •Done with crack filling.
    •Laying patches for county roads, Kendall Township, Monticello Township and White Oak Springs Township getting ready for seal coating approximately 76 miles.
    •County O bridge, north of Shullsburg, is finished and open, Jean said they did a fabulous job on the bridge.
    •Getting ready for summer projects.
    •Trail project between Belmont and Platteville is progressing.
    •Cherry Bridge on Hwy. 78 is coming out this week.
    •The new shop truck is getting finished up at Sun Valley Fabrication.
    •The Schulte mower is working well, with no problems.
    In other business:
    •Approved vouchers for $184,000, of which $72,759 was for oil products.
    •Approved overtime payments of $576, $235 paid out and $340 in comp time.