82.50   Town road standards.
82.51   Rules for town road bridge standards.
82.52   Rules for town road standards.
Ch. 82 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214, which affected this chapter, contains extensive explanatory notes including a conversion table showing the location of prior statutes in the current chapter.
subch. I of ch. 82 SUBCHAPTER I
82.01 82.01 Definitions. In this chapter, the following words and phrases have the designated meanings unless specifically noted:
82.01(1) (1)“Department" means the department of transportation.
82.01(2) (2)“Freeholder" means a person who owns a fee simple or life estate interest in land, a person who is a land contract vendee, or a person who has an interest in land arising under ch. 766.
82.01(3) (3)“Highway order" means an order laying out, altering, or discontinuing a highway or a part of a highway, that contains a legal description of what the order intends to accomplish and a scale map of the land affected by the order.
82.01(4) (4)“Laid out" means any formal act or process by which a municipality determines the location of a highway.
82.01(5) (5)“Legal description" means a complete description of land without internal references to any other document, and shall be described in one of the following ways:
82.01(5)(a) (a) By metes and bounds commencing at a monument at the section or quarter section corner or at the end of a boundary line of a recorded private claim or federal reservation in which the annexed land is located and in one of the following ways:
82.01(5)(a)1. 1. By government lot.
82.01(5)(a)2. 2. By recorded private claim.
82.01(5)(a)3. 3. By quarter section, section, township, and range.
82.01(5)(b) (b) If the land is located in a recorded and filed subdivision or in an area that is subject to a certified survey map, by reference as described in s. 236.28 or 236.34 (3).
82.01(5)(c) (c) If the land is depicted in a transportation project plat filed or recorded under s. 84.095, by reference as described in s. 84.095 (7) (a).
82.01(6) (6)“Municipality" means a city, village, or town.
82.01(7) (7)“Opened" means the completion of work on a highway that places the highway in a condition ready for public use.
82.01(8) (8)“Recorded highway" means a highway for which the order laying out or altering the highway, or a certified copy of the order, has been recorded in the office of the register of deeds in the county in which the highway is situated or, for highways that were laid out or altered before January 1, 2005, in the office of the clerk of the town or the county in which the highway is situated.
82.01(9) (9)“Town line highway" means a highway that runs on or across the boundary line between a town and another town, a village, or a city.
82.01(10) (10)“Unrecorded highway" means a highway that is not a recorded highway.
82.01(11) (11)“Worked" means action of the town in regularly maintaining a highway for public use, including hauling gravel, grading, clearing or plowing, and any other maintenance by or on behalf of the town on the road.
82.01 History History: 2003 a. 214 s. 20, 154.
82.01 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
82.03 82.03 Duties of town board.
82.03(1)(1)Oversight of highways, superintendent of highways.
82.03(1)(a) (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.
82.03(1)(b) (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.
82.03(1)(c) (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.
82.03(1)(d) (d) The town board shall provide the superintendent of highways with necessary forms and books made in compliance with standards prescribed by the department.
82.03(2) (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.
82.03(3) (3) Oversight of superintendent. The town board shall direct the superintendent of highways in the performance of the superintendent's official duties.
82.03(4) (4) Control of expenditures. The town board shall direct when and where all highway funds shall be expended.
82.03(5) (5) Maintenance.
82.03(5)(a)(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.
82.03(5)(b) (b) The town supervisors may enter any private lands with their employees and agents for the following purposes:
82.03(5)(b)1. 1. To remove weeds and brush to keep the highway reasonably safe for travel.
82.03(5)(b)2. 2. To erect or remove snow fences to keep highways reasonably free from snow and open for travel during the winter season.
82.03(5)(c) (c) To erect on the right-of-way fences other than snow fences.
82.03(6) (6) Liability.
82.03(6)(a)(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.
82.03(6)(b) (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.
82.03(7) (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.
82.03(8) (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.
82.03(9) (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.
82.03(10) (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).
82.03(11) (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.
82.03(12) (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.
82.03(13) (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.
82.03(14) (14) Purchase of equipment. The town board may purchase road building and maintenance supplies from the county under s. 83.018.
82.03(15) (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.
82.03(16) (16) County aid highways. The town board may improve county aid highways under s. 83.14.
82.03(17) (17) Highway lighting. The town board may provide lighting for highways located in the town under s. 60.50 (4).
82.03(18) (18) Solid waste transportation. The town board may designate highways on which solid waste may be transported under s. 60.54.
82.03(19) (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.
82.03 History History: 2003 a. 214 ss. 106 to 116, 122, 150, 155, 156; 2005 a. 253; 2015 a. 105.
82.03 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
82.03 Annotation The duty to keep highways passable is made mandatory by ss. 81.01 and 81.03 [now this section and s. 82.05], when read together. State ex rel. Cabott, Inc. v. Wojcik, 47 Wis. 2d 759, 177 N.W.2d 828 (1970).
82.03 Annotation A town has initial authority to name town roads under sub. (7). However, the town's authority is subject to the county's discretionary authority under s. 59.54 (4) to establish a road naming and numbering system for the specific purpose of aiding in fire protection, emergency services, and civil defense. A county may cooperate with a town regarding road name changes, but ultimately the county has authority to implement name changes, even if a town does not consent, when the name changes are made under s. 59.54 (4). Liberty Grove Town Board v. Door County Board of Supervisors, 2005 WI App 166, 284 Wis. 2d 814, 702 N.W.2d 33, 04-2358.
82.05 82.05 Superintendent of highways.
82.05(1)(1)The term of office of highway superintendents shall be one year from the date of their appointment.
82.05(2) (2)The superintendent of highways shall supervise the construction and maintenance of all highways in the superintendent's district that are required to be maintained by the town, and keep them passable at all times, and perform such other services in connection with the highways as the town board requires. The superintendent may arrange for the prosecution of the highway work as the superintendent considers necessary and appoint any overseers that the highway work requires.
82.05(3) (3)When any highway under the superintendent's charge becomes impassable, the superintendent shall put the highway in passable condition as soon as practicable. Upon actual notice of the existence of any depression, ditch, hump, or embankment that impedes the use of any highway under the superintendent's charge, the superintendent, or in the absence of a superintendent the chairperson of the town board, shall as soon as practicable take action to make the highway safe for travel, which may include closing the highway.
82.05(4) (4)The superintendent shall routinely notify the town board of all highway work.
82.05 History History: 1991 a. 316; 2003 a. 214 ss. 117, 118, 157, 158; Stats. 2003 s. 82.05.
82.05 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
82.05 Annotation The duty to keep highways passable is made mandatory by ss. 81.01 and 81.03 [now this section and s. 82.03], when read together. State ex rel. Cabott, Inc. v. Wojcik, 47 Wis. 2d 759, 177 N.W.2d 828 (1970).
82.08 82.08 Town bridges or culverts; construction and repair; county aid.
82.08(1)(1)Petitions. A town that has voted to construct or repair any bridge or culvert that is on, or that after the construction will be connected to, an existing highway maintained by the town may file a petition for county aid with the county highway commissioner. The petition shall describe the location and size of the bridge or culvert and shall contain a statement that the town has provided the funds required by sub. (3).
82.08(2) (2) Funding requirements.
82.08(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), upon receipt of a petition for a bridge or culvert with a 36-inch or greater span, or a structure of equivalent capacity to carry water, the county board shall appropriate the sum required by sub. (3) and shall levy a tax therefor. The tax, when collected, shall be held in a separate account administered by the county highway committee.
82.08(2)(b) (b) If on January 1, 2003, a county has a policy of providing funding only for bridges and culverts larger than the requirement of par. (a), the county may refuse to fund bridges and culverts that do not meet the minimum requirements of that policy. The minimum size bridge or culvert that a county is required to fund under this section may be raised, but not lowered, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the towns in the county. The county board of any county that has never granted aid under this section may, in its discretion, refuse all petitions under sub. (1).
82.08(3) (3) Shared cost. The town and county shall each pay one-half of the cost of construction or repair. In determining the cost of construction or repair of any bridge or culvert, the cost of constructing or repairing any approach not exceeding 100 feet in length shall be included.
82.08(4) (4) Emergency petition. Whenever the construction or repair of any bridge or culvert must be made without delay, the town board may file its petition with the county clerk and the county highway committee, explaining the necessity for immediate construction or repairs. It shall then be the duty of the town board and the county highway committee to construct or repair the bridge or culvert as soon as practicable. The construction or repair of a bridge or culvert undertaken pursuant to this subsection shall entitle the town to the same county aid that the town would have been entitled to had it filed its petition with the county board as provided in sub. (1).
82.08(5) (5) Supervision over design, construction, and cost. The county highway committee and the town board shall have full charge of design, sizing, letting, inspecting, and accepting the construction or repair, but the town board may leave the matter entirely in the hands of the county highway committee. The county highway committee and the town board must agree on the cost of the project and must consult each other during construction.
82.08(6) (6) Construction requirements. No county order may be drawn under sub. (2) for the construction of a bridge or culvert unless the design and construction comply with requirements under s. 84.01 (23).
82.08(7) (7) No tax. Except as provided in ss. 61.48 and 84.14 (3), nothing contained in this section shall authorize the levy of a tax upon the property in any city or village that is required to maintain its own bridges.
82.08(8) (8) Administration charge. The county may charge the towns that apply for aid under this section an administration charge. The administration charge shall be fixed as a percentage of the total costs of administering aid under this section and the percentage shall be no more than the percentage that the county charges the state for records and reports.
82.08 History History: 1977 c. 190; 1981 c. 296; 1983 a. 192 s. 303 (2); 1983 a. 532; 2003 a. 214 ss. 140 to 145, 147, 159; Stats. 2003 s. 82.08; 2013 a. 152.
82.08 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
82.08 Annotation The county is obligated to pay its half of the cost of construction or repair of a bridge even if the final cost exceeds the amount the town requested in the petition. An estimate is sufficient in a petition for aid. Costs need not be determined exactly. Town of Grand Chute v. Outagamie County, 2004 WI App 35, 269 Wis. 2d 657, 676 N.W.2d 540, 03-1897.
82.08 Annotation The bridge at issue in this case was not a “bridge on a highway maintainable by the town" under s. 81.38 [now this section] because the bridge aid petition did not request funding to help connect the bridge to a highway maintainable by the town, there was no existing highway extending to the planned bridge site at the time of the petition, and the bridge was not connected to a highway maintainable by the town upon completion. Section 81.38 requires funding for only those bridges built on highways in existence at the time of a bridge's construction. Town of Madison v. County of Dane, 2008 WI 83, 311 Wis. 2d 402, 752 N.W.2d 260, 06-2554.
82.08 Annotation Although a 2003 act changed the phrase “highway maintainable" to “highway maintained," this amendment did not change the substantive meaning of the statute. Town of Madison v. County of Dane, 2008 WI 83, 311 Wis. 2d 402, 752 N.W.2d 260, 06-2554.
82.08 Note NOTE: The above annotations cite to s. 81.38, the predecessor statute to this section.
82.08 Annotation This section does not allow a town to apply for funds from a county for the remaining cost of a bridge project after s. 84.18 funds have already been obtained for the project. Read together, the statutes do not permit a town to participate in both programs because they have conflicting requirements for which entity supervises the project. OAG 1-23.
82.09 82.09 County aid for dams used for bridges. A town board may file a petition with the county board stating that the town board has voted to acquire the right to use a roadway on a dam. The petition shall contain a legal description and scale map of the dam and roadway, and shall state the amount agreed to be paid to the owner for the use of the roadway. Upon receipt of a petition, the county board shall appropriate a sum equal to 50 percent of the amount agreed to be paid for the use. The county board shall, on the order of the chairperson of the county board and county clerk, cause such sum to be paid to the treasurer of the town whenever the town board notifies the county highway commissioner that a contract for the use of the roadway has been executed.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 71 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on February 14, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after February 14, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 2-14-24)