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Highway committee approves town bridge aid projects

Taylor County’s highway crew came under budget for a state project to install liners in culverts along Hwy 13.

Taylor County Highway Commissioner Ben Stanfley told members of the county highway committee Tuesday morning that the state had estimated the project at about $140,000 based on a private firm doing the work.The highway department submitted a quote that was about $40,000 less than that amount and was given the work.

“It came in $40,000 under what we bid it at,” Stanfley said with the final cost of the project at $68,000. Stanfley explained that in the work they slide plastic liners into existing metal culverts and then used a grout mixture to seal the liner to the original culvert.

The advantage of this system is that it extends the life of the culvert without having to have the cost and issues with disturbing the road surface. As an added advantage, because of the difference in surface between the plastic and the metal culvert, the flow rate for water through the culvert is actually increased despite it having a smaller internal diameter.

According to Stanfley, they have used this process around the county for the past few years. “We have done several big ones in the past and they are holding up pretty good,” he said.

In other culvert-related action, committee members approved a pair of budget aid requests. The first was on Putnam Drive in the town of Maplehurst located about .4 miles north of CTH A and crossing Pine Creek. The project includes replacing the existing culverts with two 90inch aluminized culverts that are 60 feet long. The total project cost is estimated at $44,568 with the county and town splitting the cost of the work.

“The state told us we have to do that culvert,” said committee member Ray Soper who represents that area of the county. Stanfley said the project cost was driven up in part by the high cost of steel at this time. “The pipes alone are $30,000,” he said.

The other request came from the town of Hammel for Mondeaux Drive. The culvert in the area had failed previously and Stanfley said there had been water over the roadway on multiple occasions. The project had qualified for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation disaster damage aid program which covered a large portion of the cost of the project. The cost of a 66 inch by 60 foot aluminum arch pipe and road work was $20,000 with the state covering $15,000 leaving $2,500 each for the town and county portions.

Committee members approved the two bridge aid requests. These will be added to the bridge aid projects approved previously and be included as an additional levy on all municipalities in the county that participate in the program when the county board approves the budget at the October 27 meeting.

In other business, Stanfley updated the board on recent projects completed and the work they plan to do yet this fall. One note was that they spent $1,100 to get all 72 highway department radios reprogrammed which addressed some bleedthrough from other agencies onto their traffic channels while improving signal reception.

“For $1,100 it was a pretty cheap fix,” Stanfley said.

Stanfley alerted committee members that American Asphalt is predicting a 15% increase in asphalt costs next year. He also reported on the status of the Rib Lake highway shop building.

The project to replace the shop had been approved by the county board in January 2021 but work on it has been delayed from beginning due to permitting. He noted that if the county is contemplating any other building projects, they should look at the time it has taken for the Rib Lake shop noting that even with plans it will be over a year.

Earl Hinkel noted that in the case of the highway shop, the county benefitted from waiting because the cost of materials was very high last year.

“That assumes prices come back down,” Soper replied.