Douglas County is making plans to rebuild a pair of highways.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard four presentations from engineering firms Wednesday, July 3, to begin the design process to replace County Highways H and U.

Highway Jason Jackman said the roads are beyond what the county can do with normal improvements.

County Highway H in Brule will be designed for three phases of construction to replace the nearly 9-mile stretch. County officials are hoping to get funding through the Surface Transportation Program to pay for the project, which could get underway in 2022.

“We want to build a nice highway next to the Brule River,” Jackman said.

County Highway U has long been problematic because of a slope that slips. The high-cost of maintenance prompted the County Highway Department to pulverize the road rather than routinely replacing pavement on the slope. Solving that problem is part of the county’s goal, but that project would be paid for with local funds.

Conditions on Highway U look rough with patchings and holes near Amnicon Falls State Park on Tuesday afternoon.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Conditions on Highway U look rough with patchings and holes near Amnicon Falls State Park on Tuesday afternoon. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Jackman said the county doesn’t have the money for either project currently, but he said with the plans on a shelf they could be budgeted.

He said if the county just pulverized the roads now and paved over them, they would only last for a few years before it needed to be done again.

“Over the years, the county used to have its own asphalt plant so what they would do is just keep paving and building it up, up, up,” Jackman said. “We can’t keep doing that because of the slopes.”

Jackman said he anticipates engaging one of the firms soon so the design work can get underway.

The design process, which includes working with the Wisconsin transportation and natural resources departments, as well as working with the public in Brule, could take up to a year to complete.

Signs warn drivers of conditions on Highway U near the Amnicon River in Douglas County on Tuesday afternoon.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Signs warn drivers of conditions on Highway U near the Amnicon River in Douglas County on Tuesday afternoon. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)