Thank you for the continued effort in working to provide adequate funding to the local road system. The increase to General Transportation Aids, the Local Road Improvement Program and the Multimodal Local Supplement all provide the locals with additional funding.
There are still many unmet needs across the entire local road system as well as other ways for more efficient use of the provided funds.
One example of this is the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s efforts to stream line project delivery though the Pilot Bridge Program and the concept of Bridge Bundling. Barron County was able to deliver 4 local bridges from design to final plans, specifications and engineering estimate within a 4 ½ month period, where in the past this was a 18 -24 month process. These bridges will be bid in early 2020 and built in 2020, several years ahead of schedule. Let’s work together to find other areas to do the same.
Issue #1: Safety Improvements on USH 8 / CTH F to CTH O / Barron County
Safe travel continues to be an issue along this section of USH 8. With the many hills and curves there are few areas to pass on this 10 mile section of USH 8. Therefore it is a common occurrence to see motorists taking chances by passing near hill crests or using the center turn lanes in Barron as passing lanes. The USH 8 intersections with CTH F and CTH O see many accidents and close calls, both on mainline turning actions and as a result of traffic entering from the CTH onto USH 8. 7% of the accidents reported in the County occur within this stretch of USH 8, resulting in 20% of the fatalities and a disproportionate amount of injuries.
Recently the Department of Transportation requested the Transportation Projects Commission to remove the USH 8 from the approved list of Major Highway Study Projects. This action turns a blind eye to the documented needs for safety improvements.
We request that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation address the safety issues within this section of USH 8.
Issue #2: Work Zone Safety
Work Zone Safety continues to be a critical focus of the Local Governments. Workers and drivers are at risk in the work zones. We support the following to aid in increasing safety in work zones:
1) Allowing work zone flaggers to report violations to law enforcement. School Crossing Guards currently have this ability under Statue 346.465.
2) Adding Work Zone Safety instruction to the Drivers Education Curriculum.
3) Automated Speed Enforcement in Work Zones