During construction the work and materials shall be inspected by the county highway commissioner or by inspectors employed by the commissioner with the approval of the county highway committee. Upon the completion of any highway job by or for the county on the county aid system or for which county aid has been granted the work shall be inspected by the county highway commissioner, and if found in conformity with plans and specifications, the commissioner shall so find and notify the county highway committee and the county clerk thereof and that the improvement has been accepted.
Upon contract construction final payment shall not be made until the work has been accepted as complete by the county highway commissioner. In case of noncontract work payment shall be made monthly upon verified, detailed, statements and payrolls prepared by the county highway commissioner and approved and allowed by the county highway committee, and all payments shall be made by orders on the county treasurer in the ordinary form signed by the chairperson of the county board and the county clerk, unless the county has adopted some different method of making disbursements, in which event it shall be according to such method and all orders shall be drawn upon and paid out of the fund provided for such construction. Said statements and payrolls shall be filed with the county clerk.
When final payment has been made upon any highway improvement, any funds remaining in the county treasurer's hands which were provided by any subdivision of the county for that particular improvement, shall be placed together with the county's balance available for that job to the credit of such subdivision of the county, and shall be used to increase the funds available for the next construction job in said subdivision, and any such balance in the bridge fund may be transferred to the road fund or vice versa by the town or village board with the approval of the county highway committee.
No order shall be drawn on the county road or bridge fund in excess of the funds available for the particular improvement for which drawn, without the authority of the county board or the county highway committee.
Projects involving county highway contracts entered into by the county highway committee or the county highway commissioner under ss. 83.035 and 83.04 (1) are exempt from county competitive bidding requirements. OAG 5-09
Improving streets over 18 feet wide. 83.05(1)(1)
When a portion of the system of county aid highways in any city is to be improved, and the funds from the city and county are available therefor, the city may determine that the roadways shall be paved to a greater width than 18 feet. If it so decides, the city may determine the type of improvement, the width, and all other features of the construction, subject to the approval of the county highway committee. And said committee shall fix the amount per linear foot of the improvement to be paid by the county. The city shall then improve the street in the manner provided generally for making street improvements. The work shall be done under the supervision of the city, but subject to the inspection of the county highway commissioner.
Upon the completion of the work the county's share of the cost shall be paid to the contractor as though the county had been an immediate party to the contract. Unless specifically authorized by the county, the payment by the county shall not exceed the cost of 22 feet of the width of the pavement, as well as a portion of the costs of grading, draining, and appertaining structures. The balance of the expense of the improvement shall be borne by the city, and shall be provided in the manner in which expense of street improvement is ordinarily met. Assessments of benefits may be made by the city against abutting property in the manner provided where the improvement is done solely at the expense of the city, but such assessments of benefits shall not exceed the difference between the cost of the improvement and the amount contributed thereto by the county.
The provisions of subs. (1)
shall apply to villages and towns subject to the approval of the county board.
History: 1993 a. 246
Maintenance of county aid highways.
All streets and highways improved with county aid under this chapter shall be maintained by the towns, cities and villages in which they lie but this provision shall not diminish or otherwise affect the duty of the county with respect to any street or highway which is a portion of the county trunk highway system, nor the powers of the county conferred by s. 83.03 (1)
or s. 83.035
County road and bridge fund; tax levy.
The county board shall annually levy a tax of not more than 2 mills on the dollar, in addition to all other taxes, and the proceeds shall be known as the “County Road and Bridge Fund". Expenditures from said fund shall be made only for the purposes of constructing and maintaining highways and bridges under this chapter and for purchasing, operating, renting and repairing machinery, quarries and gravel pits used in such construction and maintenance.
Acquisition of lands, quarries, gravel pits; relocation; eminent domain. 83.07(1)(1)
The county highway committee or town board may acquire any lands or interest therein needed to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Whenever the county highway committee or town board is unable to acquire the same by purchase at a reasonable price such property may be acquired by condemnation under ch. 32
The county highway committee or town board may purchase or accept donations of remnants of tracts or parcels of land remaining at the time or after it has acquired portions of the tracts or parcels by purchase or condemnation where in the judgment of the county highway committee or town board the acquisition of the remnant would assist in rendering just compensation to a landowner, a part of whose lands have been taken for highway purposes, and would serve to minimize the overall cost of the taking by the public.
In case the county highway committee or town board deems it desirable to acquire any lands or the right to take stone, gravel, clay or other material, from private lands for use in the execution of the committee's or board's duty, or to acquire the right of access to any lands, or the right of drainage across any lands, the committee or board may purchase or condemn such lands or right and take title thereto in the name of the county or town, and the cost thereof shall be paid out of the highway improvement funds.
When lands are acquired under this section to relocate or straighten any highway or to provide easier curves at highway intersections, and tracts not more than 2 acres in area remain separated from the main body of land from which they are acquired, the county highway committee or town board may, if it deems the acquisition of such minor tracts advisable or necessary to beautify the highway or to protect public travel, acquire such minor tracts in the name of the county or the town. Tracts in excess of 2 acres of like character may be acquired by agreement.
In case the county highway committee or the town board is unable to acquire needed lands or rights by contract, such committee or board may acquire the same in the name of the county or town by eminent domain, as provided in ch. 32
History: 1997 a. 253
Acquisition of lands and interest therein. 83.08(1)(a)
The county highway committee may acquire by gift, devise, purchase or condemnation any lands or interests in lands for the improvement, maintenance, relocation or change of any county aid or other highway or street or any bridge on a county aid or other highway or street that the county is empowered to improve or aid in improving or to maintain. The county highway committee may purchase or accept donations of remnants of tracts or parcels of land remaining at the time or after it has acquired portions of those tracts or parcels by purchase or condemnation where in the judgment of the committee the acquisition of the remnant would assist in rendering just compensation to a landowner, a part of whose lands have been taken for highway purposes, and would serve to minimize the overall cost of the taking by the public.
Whenever the county highway committee considers it necessary to acquire any lands or interests in land for any purpose described in par. (a)
, it shall so order. The order or a separate map or plat shall show the old and new locations and the lands or interests required. The committee shall file a copy of the order and map with the county clerk or, in lieu of filing a copy of the order and map, may file or record a plat in accordance with s. 84.095
. The committee shall attempt to obtain easements or title in fee simple by conveyance of the lands or interests required, at a price, including damages, considered reasonable by the committee. The instrument of conveyance shall name the county as grantee and shall be filed with the county clerk and recorded in the office of the register of deeds.
If any of the needed lands or interests therein cannot be purchased expeditiously for a price deemed reasonable by the committee, the committee may acquire the same by condemnation under ch. 32
The cost of land and rights so acquired, including any damages allowed and other expenses connected therewith, shall be paid out of available improvement or maintenance funds.
Subject to s. 84.09 (3) (c)
and to the approval of the department, the county board is authorized and empowered to sell at public sale, or to sell at private sale for fair market value to an owner of adjacent property, property, owned by the county in fee for highway purposes, when the county board shall determine that such property is no longer necessary for the county's use for highway purposes. The funds derived from such sale shall be deposited in the county highway fund and the expense incurred in connection with the sale shall be paid from that fund. However, approval of the department is not required where county funds only have been used.
Absent express language to the contrary, courts presume that the grantor of land to be used for roadways intended to convey only an easement. A deed using the term “right of way" should be construed as conveying an easement unless the instrument, considered as a whole, indicates that the parties intended the passage of fee title. Berger v. Town of New Denmark, 2012 WI App 26
, 339 Wis. 2d 336
, 810 N.W.2d 833
Emergency repairs of county trunk highways.
Whenever a flood or other casualty renders any county trunk highway dangerous for travel, the town chairperson may immediately close it and notify the county highway commissioner thereof, and the commissioner shall promptly make repairs necessary to render the highway safe for travel. If sufficient funds are not available in the county maintenance fund, the commissioner may, with the consent of the chairperson of the county board or of the county highway committee, make the necessary repairs, and the cost thereof shall be paid as soon as funds are available.
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Marking section and quarter section corners in highways.
Any county board may provide that section and quarter section corners in any highway constructed in whole or in part with county funds may be marked with suitable permanent monuments or markers; and the expense of putting in and maintaining such markers shall be paid out of the county road and bridge fund or other county fund as may be determined by the county board.
As a part of any highway improvement or as a separate project under this chapter, cattle passes across highways may be constructed at places determined by the county highway committee to be necessary and practical.
The county board may erect and maintain guideboards on county aid and county trunk highways which are not part of the state trunk highway system, the cost to be paid out of such fund as the board shall direct.
County aid on town and village initiative. 83.14(1)(1)
Any town meeting or village board may vote a tax of not less than $500 to improve a designated portion of a county aid highway and may accept cash donations for such purposes, and when accepted subsequent proceedings shall be the same as if a tax of like amount had been voted. Highways in villages shall not be eligible to improvement under this section wherever the buildings fronting the highways average more than one to each 60 lineal feet of highway. The tax shall not exceed 2 mills on the dollar on the taxable property but every town and village may vote $500, and such tax shall be paid to the county treasurer when the county taxes are paid. If the total cost of the improvement approved by the town meeting or village board exceeds the amount which it is permitted by this subsection to raise by taxation in the current year, it may vote a tax of not to exceed the same amount for the succeeding year or years.
When the tax has been voted the town or village board shall petition the county board at its next annual meeting to appropriate at least an equal amount as the county's share of the cost of the proposed improvement. The petition shall designate the highway to be improved and state the character of the improvement and the amount which has been voted therefor.
The county board shall thereupon appropriate for the improvement a sum equal to or greater than the amount voted therefor by the town or village; and shall raise the same by tax on all the taxable property of the county.
No county shall be required to appropriate in any year over $2,000 for work in any town or village.
The improvement shall be performed, supervised and paid for and accepted in the same manner as other county aid work.
Construction shall not begin until the funds to pay for the same are in the county treasury and the plans and specifications have been approved by the county highway committee. After any town has voted the tax such town may borrow money for such improvement in anticipation of the tax levy and the appropriation to be made by the county board, and pay the same into the county treasury as an advance, after which construction may proceed. The county shall reimburse the town for such advance when the necessary funds become available.
Towns and villages may take the initiative in the improvement of county aid highways by issuing bonds and the funds produced by such bond issue shall be handled and expended as though raised by taxation. If the county has not appropriated a sum at least equal to the funds raised by the town or village or to the proceeds of the town or village bonds advanced to the county for such improvements, the town or village board may petition the county pursuant to sub. (2)
for an amount equal to one-half of such funds or of the principal maturing on such bonds in each year and the county shall appropriate its share as provided in sub. (3)
, subject to the limitation in sub. (4)
, until the county has appropriated an amount equal to the amount raised by the town or village or to the proceeds of the bonds thus advanced. This procedure may also be used to repay funds borrowed and advanced by a town or village for such improvements, as provided in sub. (6)
The county clerk shall, on or before January 1 of each year, file with the department a written statement setting forth the petitions granted by the county board and the improvements determined upon under s. 83.03
, the location, character and contemplated cost of each improvement, and the amount to be paid by the county and town or village for making each improvement.
Aid by county for state line bridge or highway.
The county board of any county bounded in part by a river, or by a highway, either of which is also a state boundary line may aid any municipality of such county in the construction of a bridge across such river or any part thereof, or in the reconstruction of the highway including its bridges by an appropriation therefor not exceeding one-third of the cost of such bridge or of such highway.
County may contract with foreign county.
The board of supervisors of any county in this state bordering on any stream or highway which is the boundary line between such county and a county in another state is authorized in conjunction with the board of supervisors of such adjoining county in such other state, to construct and maintain a bridge or bridges across such river at a place or places within the limits of such county or reconstruct such highway including its bridges as may be agreed upon by the respective boards of supervisors, whenever said board of supervisors deems it necessary, and to enter into a contract with such board of supervisors of the adjoining county of such other state for the construction, maintenance and repair of such bridges or highway.
County may assume compensation liability; agreements with localities.
Whenever a county contributes funds to a highway project undertaken by a town, village or city in the county or a city, town or village has its highways maintained by the county with local funds, the county through its county highway committee may assume the liability under ch. 102
of the town, village or city to any employee on such project, and may by agreement with the governing body of the town, village or city provide for the amount the town, village or city shall pay to the county for the assumption of such liability. The action of the county highway committee shall remain in effect until the county board by resolution disapproves of the action.
History: 1975 c. 147
; 1979 c. 89
Entry on lands.
For constructing or maintaining any highway by the county, the county highway committee or commissioner shall possess all of the powers to acquire and enter lands conferred upon town boards by s. 82.03 (2)
History: 1985 a. 29
s. 3202 (56)
; 2003 a. 214
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Temporary highways and detours.
When any highway which is maintained or to be maintained by the county shall be practically impassable or be dangerous to travel or when it shall be deemed necessary on account of construction or repair work thereon or for other reasons to suspend travel upon any part of such highway, the county highway commissioner may lay out and open temporary highways for the accommodation of public travel through any lands, and the county highway commissioner shall possess the powers conferred by s. 82.35
upon town boards. Said powers shall be exercised by the county highway commissioner in like manner and the procedure shall be the same except that the contract and orders and claim for damages and other papers relating to the matter shall be filed with the county clerk, and claims for damages shall be acted upon by the county board in the manner provided by s. 893.80
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Any county may provide for lighting of improved highways maintained by the county or the construction of which has been aided by the county or state, and of bridges located thereon.
Rustic roads system. 83.42(1)(1)
In order to create and preserve rustic and scenic roads for vehicular, bicycle, electric scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, and pedestrian travel in unhurried, quiet and leisurely enjoyment; to protect and preserve recreational driving, culture, beauty, trees, vegetation and wildlife by establishing protective standards of rustic road design, access, speed, maintenance and identification, which will promote a continuous system of rustic roads and scenic easements for the public health and welfare; a state system of rustic roads is created.
In this section:
“Board" means the rustic roads board in the department.
“Municipality" means a city, village or town.
(3) Designation as a rustic road.
Any county highway committee or the governing body of any municipality may apply to the board for the designation of any highway under its jurisdiction as a rustic road. The board shall approve or deny the application for designation of a highway as a rustic road submitted under this subsection.
(4) Withdrawal of highways from rustic roads system.
After holding a public hearing, any county highway committee, or the governing body of any municipality, which has jurisdiction over a rustic road may apply to the board for the removal of a highway from the rustic roads system. The board shall approve or deny the application for removal of the highway from its designation as a rustic road.
(5) Joint jurisdiction of highways.
Highways under the joint jurisdiction of 2 or more municipalities or a municipality and a county or 2 or more counties may not be designated rustic roads or be withdrawn from the rustic roads system until after approval by:
The governing bodies of all affected municipalities; and
The county highway committees of all affected counties; and
(7) Local authority.
The county highway committees, the municipalities and the counties shall have the same authority over rustic roads as they possess over other highways under their jurisdiction except as otherwise provided in this section.
State aids for rustic roads shall be determined in accordance with the general transportation aids provisions of s. 86.30
(8m) Rustic road marking signs; state payment.
The department shall pay the costs of furnishing and installing rustic roads marking signs on officially designated rustic roads from the appropriation under s. 20.395 (3) (eq)
(9) Rules and standards.
The board shall promulgate rules and establish standards for the maintenance, identification, construction, use and preservation of the rustic roads system.
See also ch. Trans-RR 1
, Wis. adm. code.