Current as of: 2013
(1) Oversight of highways, superintendent of highways.
(a) The town board shall have the care and supervision of all highways under the town's jurisdiction, including the highways specified in s. 83.06. The town board may appoint in writing a superintendent of highways to supervise, under the board's direction, the construction, repair, and maintenance of the highways and bridges under the town's jurisdiction. Where no superintendent of highways is appointed, it shall be the duty of the town board to perform all of the duties that are prescribed by law for the superintendent of highways to perform, including keeping the highways passable at all times.
(b) The town board may appoint more than one superintendent of highways. If more than one superintendent is appointed, the town board shall divide the town into as many districts as there are superintendents. The districts shall be numbered and a superintendent shall be assigned to each district. A superintendent may be a member of the town board.
(c) The town board shall fix the compensation and may require and set the amount of a bond of the superintendent. The town board may reimburse the superintendent for expenses incurred in performing his or her duties as superintendent.
(d) The town board shall provide the superintendent of highways with necessary forms and books made in compliance with standards prescribed by the department.
(2) Funding and equipment. The town board shall provide machinery, implements, material, and equipment needed to construct, maintain, and repair the highways and bridges under the town's jurisdiction, and for those purposes may acquire by purchase or by condemnation under ch. 32 stone, gravel, sand, clay, earth, gravel pits, stone quarries, and interests in land under s. 83.07. The total sum spent under this subsection in any year for construction, maintenance, and repair of highways and bridges may not exceed the product of $5,000 multiplied by the miles of highway under the jurisdiction of the town measured by the most recent highway mileage for the town, as determined under s. 86.302, unless one of the following occurs:
(a) A greater sum is authorized by the town meeting.
(b) The town board, by resolution, submits to the electors of the town as a referendum at a general or special town election the question of exceeding the limit set under this subsection. A copy of the resolution shall be filed as provided in s. 8.37. The board shall abide by the majority vote of the electors of the town on the question. The question shall read as follows:
Shall the town of .... spend up to $.... over ...., which is the annual limit of the product of $5,000 multiplied by the miles of highway under the jurisdiction of the town measured by the most recent highway mileage for the town, as determined under section 86.302 of the Wisconsin Statutes, for the construction, maintenance, and repair of its highways and bridges?
FOR SPENDING? AGAINST SPENDING?
(3) Oversight of superintendent. The town board shall direct the superintendent of highways in the performance of the superintendent's official duties.
(4) Control of expenditures. The town board shall direct when and where all highway funds shall be expended.
(a) The town supervisors may enter any lands near any highway in the town to construct necessary drains or ditches or embankments for the improvement or protection of the highway.
(b) The town supervisors may enter any private lands with their employees and agents for the following purposes:
1. To remove weeds and brush to keep the highway reasonably safe for travel.
2. To erect or remove snow fences to keep highways reasonably free from snow and open for travel during the winter season.
(c) To erect on the right-of-way fences other than snow fences.
(a) The town shall be responsible for any damage resulting from activities undertaken under the authority granted by sub. (5). The owner of lands entered upon or used for any of the purposes identified in sub. (5) may apply to the town board to appraise the resulting damages, and such damages may be determined by agreement. If the parties are unable to agree upon the damages, the board shall make an award of damages and file the award with the town clerk, and the clerk shall give notice, by certified mail with return receipt requested, of the filing to the owner.
(b) Within 60 days after the date of filing of a town board's award of damages under par. (a), the owner may appeal to the circuit court following the same procedures provided under s. 32.05 (10) for condemnation proceedings. The clerk of courts shall enter the appeal as an action pending in the court with the owner as plaintiff and the town as defendant. The action shall proceed as an action in the court subject to all of the provisions of law relating to actions brought therein, but the only issue to be tried shall be the amount of just compensation to be paid by the town, and the action shall have precedence over all other actions not then on trial. The action shall be tried by jury unless waived by both the plaintiff and the defendant. The amount of the town's award shall not be disclosed to the jury during the trial. Costs shall be allowed or litigation expenses awarded in an action under this paragraph in the same manner as provided under s. 32.28 for condemnation proceedings.
(7) Highway names. The town board shall, by ordinance, assign a name to each of the roads that are under the town's jurisdiction. No road name may be used on more than one road within the jurisdiction of the town.
(8) Use of dams as roadways. The town board may contract with the owner of a dam that has a roadway on it for the use of the roadway. The contract shall provide who shall be responsible for keeping the roadway in repair and may be for a period of time that the board determines.
(9) Rustic roads. As specified in s. 83.42, the town board shall maintain the rustic roads under its jurisdiction and may apply to have a highway designated as a rustic road or withdrawn from the rustic road system.
(10) Additions to and deletions from county trunk highway system. The town board shall approve or deny additions to and deletions from the county trunk highway system as provided in s. 83.025 (1).
(11) Emergency closure of county trunk highway. The town chairperson may close county trunk highways when they have been rendered dangerous for travel and immediately notify the county highway commissioner under s. 83.09.
(12) Controlled-access highways. The town board shall work with the county and other governmental bodies in establishing and maintaining controlled-access highways under s. 83.027.
(13) County-controlled highways in a town. The town board may contract under s. 83.035 with the county to enable the county to construct and maintain streets and highways in the town.
(14) Purchase of equipment. The town board may purchase road building and maintenance supplies from the county under s. 83.018.
(15) Agreements with other governmental bodies. The town board, under s. 83.027 (9), may enter into agreements with other governmental bodies respecting the financing, planning, establishment, improvement, maintenance, use, regulation, or vacation of controlled-access highways or other public ways in their respective jurisdictions.
(16) County aid highways. The town board may improve county aid highways under s. 83.14.
(17) Highway lighting. The town board may provide lighting for highways located in the town under s. 60.50 (4).
(18) Solid waste transportation. The town board may designate highways on which solid waste may be transported under s. 60.54.
(19) Tunnels under highways. The town board shall ensure that all tunnels constructed pursuant to s. 82.37 are constructed in accordance with the requirements of s. 82.37 and are kept in good repair by the landowner.
Questions & Answers: Highways
U.S. Code Provisions: Highways
Federal Regulations: Highways