Highway Dept. plans to submit list to ARPA Committee
By Sarah Nigbor
Pierce County motorists can expect detours as County Road B west of Spring Valley is completely reconstructed.
According to Pierce County Highway Commissioner Chad Jonson, the county received $1.4 million of Community Development Block Grant funding to reconstruct County Road B from Herb Avenue to the Spring Valley village limits. The work will involve minimal realignment, slope correction and the addition of storm sewers for part of the area.
The reconstruction will continue to the intersection of county roads B and I with county funding, Johnson said. The road will be closed to through travc during the reconstruction. Specific work areas will vary and are dictated by earthwork cuts and fills. This week, crews will focus on removing pavement, stripping topsoil, placing breaker and crushed rock. Work is primarily taking place west of Van Buren Street this week.
County Road I and County Road B north of the intersection to the St. Croix County line will be pulverized and repaved. The county will also add asphalt to 300 feet of the water tower road. Lastly, the 850th Street/County Road B/I intersection will change from a three-way stop to a four-way stop, Johnson said. The project is expected to be completed by October.
2022 State Highway projects
At the Wednesday, June 15 Travc Safety Commission meeting, Rick Tumaniec of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation updated members on 2022 state highway projects.
Work is mostly complete on the Highway 10/Main Street/Highway 65 project in Ellsworth. Final tweaks to the stoplight at the Highway 65/10 intersection are being made this week. Ellsworth Police Chief Eric Ladwig said his department has been receiving citizen complaints about the timing of the lights.
Board member Neil Gulbranson said he’s happy with how Main Street turned out.
Last week, work began to reconstruct Cemetery Road/Highway 29 in River Falls. Gov. Tony Evers recently signed a $1.28 million contract with Monarch Paving Co. of Amery to resurface the road from Main Street to Highway 65. Construction started June 14. The road will see new asphalt pavement, a modified Emory Circle intersection, a modi – fied roundabout to better accommodate truck travc at the Wasson Lane intersection, new curb ramps, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The road will remain open to travc, but drivers will encounter lane closures from time-totime, Tumaniec said.
2022 County Road projects
In addition to the extensive work on County Road B, Johnson listed other county roads that are on their radar.
Next week, county roads M and VV will be getting a layer of sealcoating applied, so driv- ers should expect short-term travc impacts. Culvert pipes will be replaced on the south end of County Road U, in preparation for pulverizing and resurfacing the road.
The county is hoping to begin reconstruction of the County Road CC corridor this year, time permitting.
ARPA project list
Johnson and Gulbranson have been working on a list of road projects to submit to the Pierce County American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Ad-Hoc Committee for consideration. “You can use ARPA funding for road projects,” Gulbranson said.
“We developed a list that is somewhat prioritized based on work type,” Johnson said.
The Pierce County Board Ad-Hoc Com- mittee's purpose is to figure out how to ap propriate the county’s $8.3 million in awarded ARPA funds The U.S. Department of the Treasury is responsible for the funds’ distribution. Four broad eligible uses for ARPA funds include: Revenue replacement for government services • COVID-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts from COVID-19, including assistance to small businesses, households, hard-hit industries and economic recovery.
• Premium pay for essential workers.
• Investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure The "final rule" from the U.S. Department of Treasury issued Jan. 6 significantly in – creased flexibility for municipalities in how they spend ARPA funds, especially in how they calculate the local tax revenue loss attributable to the pandemic.
The money claimed under the revenue loss category can be used for “general government services,” which can mean any service traditionally provided by the government (minus a few exceptions). Some examples the final rule lists are construction of schools and hospitals, road building and maintenance, other infrastructure, health services, general government administration, stau and administrative facili ties, environmental remediation, and provision of police, fire and other public safety services (can include buying fire and police vehicles.)
The projects submitted by the highway department for consideration total around $10 million, Johnson said.
“We’re not expecting to get all of it,” he said.
Projects up for consideration include:
• The drainage tunnel on County Road S in Maiden Rock. The tunnel carries water beneath County S and Highway 25, under railroad tracks, and discharges it in the flats before the Mississippi River. About $1 million are needed to make repairs and line the tunnel, Johnson said. He is concerned about cracks in tunnel and said the floor is in need of spot repair, which can be done this summer. “We will have to move forward regardless if receive we ARPA or not,” Johnson said.
He plans to also research state and federal funding sources.
Gulbranson, who worked for the Pierce County Sheriu's Ovce at the time, said he re – members in the 1970s when a flood took out Highway 35 in Maiden Rock. The tunnel helps prevent such scenarios.
“People were standing on the bars calling for help. I was working when it happened. We actually had to go down and rescue these people,” Gulbranson said.
• Ten bridges need epoxy coatings over their decks to extend longevity, including on U, K, O and others.
• Pulverizing and repaving county road O, MM and CC. Gulbranson said he would personally like to see something done to reconfigure the inter section at US Highway 63 and County Road Y in the town of Martell, which is estimated to cost $2 million. The intersection has dangerous sight lines, contributing to multiple fatalities.
The next Travc Safety Commission meet ing is slated for Sept. 14. The next Highway Committee meeting is set for July 21.