Douglas County is considering a proposal to shift jurisdiction of County Highway H to the state of Wisconsin.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a proposal by the Brule Town Board to consider petitioning the state to change the county road to a state trunk highway.
“County Road H is in such terrible shape,” said Myron Olson, a Brule town supervisor. “But I don’t have to tell you guys that. You all know how bad it is.”
A resolution adopted by the Brule Town Board in July recommends the state continue State Highway 27 at its end at U.S. Highway 2 northward to State Highway 13 on County Highway H.
“Our biggest industry in Brule is tourism and we’d like to tie Highway 13 to Brule with a good highway,” Olson said. “By extending Highway 27 from Brule north to 13, if we could get the state to take that over, hopefully it would bring in more people to our town.”
Olson said the county highway gets a lot of truck traffic because it is the most direct route south to reach destinations like Hayward.
“Last winter, there was probably 50 trucks a day, pulp trucks,” Olson said. “There’s a couple of rock quarries up there. It would be much better for them too. It’s a 40 mph road right now … something has to happen.”
Members of the Infrastructure and Transportation Committee recommended the County Board approve petitioning the state to take over jurisdiction for the road.
Douglas County has hired a firm to design reconstruct of County Highway H is underway with construction slated to begin in 2022 if funding is available through the Surface Transportation Program.
It’s work that will continue because there is no certainty the state would take over jurisdiction of the road, Highway Commissioner Jason Jackman said.
“The state can take over jurisdiction of a county highway, although taking this action is relatively uncommon,” according to Cole White, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “It is dependent on certain average daily traffic and requires an agreement by the department.”
The request, if approved by the Douglas County Board, would be submitted at the regional WisDOT office for review but final approval or denial is determined by the administrator of WisDOT’s Division of Transportation System Development, White said.
The Douglas County Board considers proposal when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in Room 201 of the Government Center.