Reconstruction of County Road C north of Iola will begin in spring 2012, said Waupaca Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber.
Information on the $3.5 million County C project from Schmidt’s Corners to Northland was presented at an informal meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Northland Lutheran Church.
“We’re excited to finally have the northeast section completed,” Steingraber said. He noted that parts of county roads G and C still need to be completed going east of Little Falls.
Steingraber credited County Board Supervisor Don Aasen, of Iola, as instrumental in getting the funds for the reconstruction of County Road C.
“I’m happy to say we can finally finish this project,” Aasen said. “We’ve been trying to finish this northern route for many years.”
“The No. 1 reason for the project is to make a safer road to help the farmers, the logging industry and the people who live in this part of the county,” he said. “There really isn’t another east-west route in the northern part of Waupaca County.”
Aasen said it was not easy convincing the county board to approve a project that is located in a sparsely populated section of the county.
“I’m tired of the disrespect that the rural people and areas get in Waupaca County,” he said. “There is too much focus on the city areas.”
“I represent the largest district by square miles,” he added.
The $3.5 million project is among the items being financed through a borrowing package recently approved by the Waupaca County Board of Supervisors. Steingraber said the state helps fund between $100,000 and $200,000 of the blacktop costs.
Preliminary work – including tree cutting, staking and moving electrical and telephone lines – has already begun, he said. In spring, the Waupaca County Highway Department will begin the road reconstruction, which includes leveling the roadway, widening curves, landscaping, replacing culverts, widening and lengthening the bridge and placing gravel. The blacktop will be placed in spring 2013.
Steingraber said the highway department will make an effort to keep a roadway open for emergency services. Also, they will work with residents to continue mail delivery. Steingraber noted there will sometimes be holes in the road as culverts are replaced.
Questions and answers
Q: Will the bridge be removed?
A: No, the bridge is only being widened and the structure will not be removed. About nine feet will be added on the north and about 20 feet will be added on the south end of the bridge.
Q: How will the county decide on which end of the roadway to begin?
A: Currently the county is seeking bids for the gravel, Steingraber explained. Where the reconstruction begins usually depends on the gravel source.
Q: What will be done with the hill?
A: “There’s about a 5-foot cut and a 5-foot fill to try to improve the hill,” Steingraber said. “It should be a marked improvement, and safer, with a wider road and less trees.”
Q: What is the landscaping plan?
A: The ditch will be cut, then about four inches of top soil will be replaced, then the county plants a seed mixture to help prevent erosion. There is also a lawn mixture that can be used near houses, if the landowner prefers. As an alternative, the county also has a prairie grass mixture available, if a person or group is willing to adopt a prairie area. It takes about five years of controlling invasives until the prairie grasses are established.
Q: Are there any plants worth saving in the area?
A: “I haven’t seen anything worth digging up,” said Linda Combs, of the Waupaca County Highway Department.
Q: Is the east-west route in the northern part of the county a priority because of truck traffic?
A: Yes, there are a lot of logging and other trucks using the northern route, plus recreation and large farming equipment.
Q: How will the residents continue to get mail delivery during the reconstruction?
A: The residents along the roadway need to decide if they prefer to have temporary boxes or if they would rather drive to the local post office to pick up their mail. With a previous project, the residents used temporary mail boxes.