Douglas County will petition the state to take over jurisdiction of County Highway H between U.S. Highway 2 in Brule and State Highway 13 to the north.
The Brule Town Board suggested the jurisdictional change to extend State Highway 27 because of its condition and use, and the limited resources the county has to improve the road.
The nearly 9-mile stretch of county highway is frequently used by truck drivers because it is the most direct route to points south such as Hayward.
Brule Town Supervisor Myron Olson said about 50 trucks a day, serving two quarries in the area and the timber industry, used the road daily last winter.
“In order for them to even look at the petition, it has to meet the state statute of 250 vehicles per day, which it does,” Highway Commissioner Jason Jackman said.
The petition will be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s regional office in Eau Claire for review before sending it on to the administrator of system development in Madison.
Supervisor Keith Allen asked what the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal would be.
Jackman said the advantage would be it would take mileage off the system the county is responsible for maintaining and transfer that responsibility to the state. He didn’t foresee any disadvantages in the jurisdictional change.
“It’s a safety hazard right now,” Supervisor Sue Hendrickson said.
The county recently signed a contract with Short, Elliot and Hendrickson to do the design work to reconstruct County Highway H, with construction proposed for 2022.
Since the design work hasn’t started yet, Jackman said the county could still direct the work to design to state highway standards, such as wider shoulders, design speed and thicker pavements.
“I talked to the regional folks and I said well, we’re currently designing Highway H for a county road, total reconstruction,” Jackman said. “The timing is actually really good because we could design it to a state standard and build it to a state highway if there was some kind of guarantee that they would take it over. If not, I don’t see why we would take that chance.”
OHMs may use section of Gandy Dancer Trail
The County Board approved allowing off-highway motorcycles to use a section of the Gandy Dancer Trail between the Minnesota border and a motor bike park in Douglas County.
It was illegal for motor bikes to use the trail segment to get to the park.