Except as provided under pars. (b)
, the county board shall elect a county highway commissioner. If the county board fails to elect a county highway commissioner, the county shall not participate in state allotments for highways.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more, the county highway commissioner shall also be the director of public works. The person holding the position of county highway commissioner and director of public works, under the classified service, on June 16, 1974, shall continue in that capacity under civil service status until death, resignation or removal from such position. Thereafter the county executive shall appoint as successor a director of transportation who shall assume the duties of county highway commissioner and director of public works and is subject to confirmation by the county board, as provided in s. 59.17 (2) (bm)
Except as provided under par. (b)
, in any county with a county executive or a county administrator, the county executive or county administrator shall appoint and supervise the county highway commissioner. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the county board unless the county board, by ordinance, elects to waive confirmation or unless the appointment is made under a civil service system competitive examination procedure established under s. 59.52 (8)
or ch. 63
. Notwithstanding s. 83.01 (7) (a)
, the highway commissioner is subject only to the supervision of the county executive or county administrator.
Unless the county board establishes a different term of service by ordinance, the county highway commissioner shall serve for a term of 2 years, except as provided in par. (b)
Unless the county board establishes a different term of service under par. (a)
, upon his or her first election or appointment the county highway commissioner shall serve until the first Monday in January of the 2nd year succeeding the year of the election or appointment.
The salary of the county highway commissioner shall be as determined under s. 59.22
(4) Office and assistants.
The county board shall provide the county highway commissioner with suitable offices and such assistants as are necessary for the proper performance of the commissioner's duties.
The county highway commissioner shall give bond in such sum as the county board shall from time to time require.
(6) Payment of salaries.
The salaries, expenses of maintaining an office and the necessary traveling expenses of the county highway commissioner, assistants and special highway patrolmen in counties having such patrolmen may be paid monthly out of the general fund after being audited and approved by the county highway committee. All such expenditures out of the general fund shall be reimbursed out of moneys received under s. 86.30
Except as provided under s. 83.015 (2) (b)
, the county highway commissioner shall have charge, under the direction of the county highway committee, of the construction of highways built with county aid and of the maintenance of all highways maintained by the county.
Except as provided under s. 83.015 (2) (b)
, the county highway commissioner shall perform all duties required by the county board and by the county highway committee and shall do or cause to be done all necessary engineering and make all necessary examinations for the establishment, construction, improvement and maintenance of highways. The county highway commissioner shall establish such grades and make such surveys and maps or cause the same to be made as the commissioner considers proper, and examine the highways and report as to the condition of roads, bridges and culverts, and make estimates of the cost of the improvement thereof, and of the cost of any relocation when required to do so or when the commissioner considers the same reasonably necessary.
The county highway commissioner shall have charge of all county road machinery and tools, and shall be responsible to the county board for their proper maintenance, repair and storage, and shall in the annual report required under par. (d)
make a complete inventory of the same, which inventory shall show the date of purchase, the location and condition of such machinery and tools, and the cost and present value thereof.
The county highway commissioner shall make an annual report to the department and to the county board at its annual meeting containing an itemized statement of all expenditures made from the county road and bridge fund during the year ending November 1. The commissioner shall include in the report an itemized estimate of the amount needed to properly maintain the county trunk highways in the county for the succeeding year and shall make such recommendations as deemed advisable.
The county highway commissioner and the commissioner's employees may enter private lands for the purpose of making surveys or inspections.
Whenever any fence encroaches upon any highway on the county trunk or state trunk system, the county highway commissioner may issue an order requiring the owner or occupant of the land to which such fence is appurtenant to remove the fence from the highway within 30 days. The order shall be served personally or by registered mail. If the fence is not sooner removed the commissioner shall, after the expiration of 30 days, remove the fence. The commissioner shall keep an accurate account of the expense thereof which shall be paid by the county. The expense shall be charged to the town in which such lands are situated and shall be added to its tax roll as a special tax against such lands, and shall be collected and accounted for as other county taxes are. If the claim of encroachment is disputed, the dispute shall be decided in the manner prescribed by s. 86.04 (3)
The county commissioner shall compile and maintain a record of the laying out, alteration, or discontinuance of all highways in the county outside the limits of cities and villages. The record shall be known as the county highway register and be kept in the manner or form prescribed by the department. The county highway commissioner or agents shall have access to the records of town clerks and may have temporary custody of such as are necessary for the purpose of making accurate and appropriate copies thereof. The department shall assist in the compilation of the records and shall furnish to the county highway commissioner such information as the department deems appropriate relative to the laying out of military, territorial, and such other roads as have been authorized by the legislature. The information contained in the county highway register shall be kept together in a location within the county that provides a safe repository for records as determined by the county board and shall be accessible to the public. Such county highway register may be supplemented from time to time by the county highway commissioner and such supplemental information is to be treated in the same fashion as the original county highway register all of which shall be admissible in evidence.
Counties are without the power to furnish equipment or supplies or to contract to do repair work on private roads and driveways. 61 Atty. Gen. 304.
County highway commissioners are appointed by the county board. Their salary is to be fixed, and may be changed during their term, under s. 59.15 (2) [now s. 59.22 (2)]. 63 Atty. Gen. 286.
A county board may provide for an indefinite term of office for a highway commissioner. 80 Atty. Gen. 46
County traffic safety commissions. 83.013(1)(a)
For each county, the county highway commissioner or a designated representative, the chief county traffic law enforcement officer or a designated representative, the county highway safety coordinator, and a representative designated by the county board from each of the disciplines of education, medicine and law and 3 representatives involved in law enforcement, highways and highway safety designated by the secretary of transportation shall comprise a traffic safety commission that shall meet at least quarterly to review traffic accident data from the county and other traffic safety related matters. The county board chairperson, or the county executive or county administrator in a county having such offices, may appoint additional persons to serve as a member of the county traffic safety commission. The commissions shall designate a person to prepare and maintain a spot map showing the locations of traffic accidents on county and town roads and on city and village streets if the population of the city or village is less than 5,000 and to maintain traffic accident data received from cities, villages and towns with a population of 5,000 or more under s. 66.0141
. Upon each review, the commission shall make written recommendations for any corrective actions it deems appropriate to the department, the county board, the county highway committee or any other appropriate branch of local government.
Counties may combine for the purposes of par. (a)
, if desired.
The commissions shall file a report on each meeting with the department.
The department shall furnish each commission with traffic accident data and uniform traffic citation data for the rural, federal, state, and county highways in the jurisdictions represented in each commission, which shall identify the accident rates and arrest rates on their highways, and shall also furnish a suitable map for use in spotting accidents.
County highway committee. 83.015(1)(a)
Except as otherwise provided in par. (c)
each county board at the annual meeting shall by ballot elect a committee of not less than 3 nor more than 5 persons, to serve for one year, beginning either as soon as elected or on January 1 following their election, as designated by the county board, and until their successors are elected. Any vacancy in the committee may be filled until the next meeting of the county board by appointment made by the chairperson of the board. The committee shall be known as the “county highway committee", and shall be the only committee representing the county in the expenditure of county funds in constructing or maintaining, or aiding in constructing or maintaining highways.
The members of the county highway committee shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, and shall be paid the same per diem for time necessarily spent in the performance of their duties as is paid to members of other county board committees, not, however, exceeding $500 for per diem, in addition to necessary expenses, to any member in any year. A different amount may be fixed as a maximum by the county board.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, each county board may fix the number of members on the county highway committee, the membership, manner of appointment, method of filling vacancies and the terms of the members.
The town chairperson of each town in which county aid construction is performed shall be a member of the county highway committee, or shall act with such committee, on all matters affecting such construction in the town, if the town has voted a portion of the cost thereof.
Except as provided under par. (b)
, the county highway committee shall purchase and sell county road machinery as authorized by the county board, determine whether each piece of county aid construction shall be let by contract or shall be done by day labor, enter into contracts in the name of the county, and make necessary arrangements for the proper prosecution of the construction and maintenance of highways provided for by the county board, enter private lands with their employees to remove weeds and brush and erect or remove fences that are necessary to keep highways open for travel during the winter, direct the expenditure of highway maintenance funds received from the state or provided by county tax, meet from time to time at the county seat to audit all payrolls and material claims and vouchers resulting from the construction of highways and perform other duties imposed by law or by the county board.
In any county with a highway commissioner appointed under s. 83.01 (1) (b)
, the county highway committee shall be only a policy-making body determining the broad outlines and principles governing administration and the county highway commissioner shall have the administrative powers and duties prescribed for the county highway committee under par. (a)
, sub. (3) (a)
and ss. 27.065 (4) (b)
, 32.05 (1) (a)
, 83.01 (6)
, 83.025 (1)
, 83.05 (1)
, 83.14 (6)
, 83.42 (3)
, 84.01 (5)
, 84.06 (3)
, 84.07 (1)
, 84.09 (1)
, (3) (a)
, 84.10 (1)
, 86.04 (1)
, 86.07 (2) (a)
, 86.19 (3)
, 86.34 (1m)
, 114.33 (5)
, 349.07 (2)
, 349.11 (4)
and 349.15 (2)
. No statutory power, duty or function specified elsewhere for the county highway commissioner may be deemed impliedly repealed for the sole reason that reference to it has been omitted in this paragraph.
Each county board, except in counties of a population of 750,000 or over, shall provide for and require the county highway committee and county highway department to use the system of cost accounting devised by the department of revenue.
Any variations, adjustments, corrections and revisions in the system shall be made annually so as to be effective on January 1 of each year following the proposed change.
Any changes so proposed in order to become effective shall be mutually agreed upon by the department and a majority of the county highway departments of the state.
The department may insist on the adoption of the uniform system in any county before entering into agreements with such county for the maintenance of state trunk highways.
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
This section does not preclude county boards from auditing county highway committee vouchers prior to payment thereof from county funds. However, the board's audit authority is limited to determining whether the expenditure is within the scope of the committee's statutory or delegated authority. 63 Atty. Gen. 136.
Traffic patrol officers, appointment, duties, bond. 83.016(1)(1)
The county board, or one of its committees to which it may delegate such authority, may appoint traffic officers for the enforcement of laws relating to the highways or their use, or the maintenance of order upon or near the highways. Traffic officers may arrest without warrant any person who, in their presence, violates any law relating to highways or the maintenance of order upon or near highways. Any traffic officer, sheriff, constable or other police officer may make such arrest without warrant on the request of any other traffic officer, sheriff, constable or police officer in whose presence any such offense has been committed. The appointment of any traffic officer may be revoked at any time by the county board or one of its committees to which it may delegate such authority. No traffic officer shall receive or accept from or for any person he or she has arrested, any money or other thing of value, as or in lieu of bail or for the person's appearance before a court, or to cover or be applied to the payment of fines or costs, or as a condition of such person's release.
Traffic officers, before exercising their powers, shall be provided with a badge by the county board or its designee which shall be worn when on duty.
Traffic officers shall furnish bonds in a sum fixed by the county board to indemnify the county for any and all claims arising out of the performance of their duties. The cost of such bonds shall be paid by the county. In lieu of furnishing bonds, such officers may be included in a schedule or blanket bond under s. 19.07 (1) (b)
Road supplies; committee may sell to municipalities.
The county highway committee is authorized to sell road building and maintenance supplies on open account to any city, village, town or school district within the county; and any such city, village, town or school district is authorized to purchase such supplies.
It is permissible for a county highway department to sell road sand or salt to municipalities, either for their own use or for resale, if, in good faith, county officials believe that the purchaser does not intend to resell the sand or salt for a private purpose. OAG 2-01
. But see OAG 1-20
This section does not address the ability to lease gravel rights on county land. OAG 1-20
County aid highways. 83.02(1)(1)
The system of prospective state highways heretofore selected by the county boards and approved by the highway commission are hereby validated but without prejudice to the exercise of the power to change such systems. Such systems are hereby designated as the county aid highway system.
The department, on the petition of at least 100 freeholders, may, after investigation, make such alterations in the system of county aid highways as it deems necessary to serve the public interest.
County trunk highways. 83.025(1)(a)
The systems of county trunk highways heretofore selected by county boards and approved by the department are hereby validated. Changes may be made in the county trunk system by the county board as provided in this section. The county board in making the changes may order the county highway committee to lay out new highways and acquire the interests necessary by the procedures under s. 83.08
. A county board may not make additions to a county trunk system from a city or village street or town road without the consent of the department and of the governing body of the city, village or town in which the proposed addition is located. A county board may not make deletions from a county trunk system without the approval of the department, and, except as provided in this paragraph and par. (d)
, without the approval of the governing body of the city, village or town in which the proposed deletion is located or, in the case of a proposed deletion affecting more than one city, village or town, without the approval of a majority of the governing bodies of such cities, villages or towns.
The county board, or the county highway committee, shall, by conference with the boards or highway committees of adjoining counties, or otherwise, cause their respective county trunk systems to join so as to make continuous lines of travel between the counties. Any highway which is a part of the county trunk system shall, by virtue thereof, be a portion of the system of county aid highways.
Any city or village street or portion thereof selected as a portion of the county trunk system prior to May 1, 1939, shall be a portion of the county trunk system. All streets or highways in any city or village over which is routed a county trunk highway or forming connections through the city or village between portions of the county trunk highway system shall be a part of the county trunk system unless the governing body of the city or village, by resolution, removes the street or highway from the system, but the removal shall apply only to that portion of any street or highway which is situated wholly within the city or village.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more the county board may remove from the county trunk highway system any part thereof which lies within an incorporated village or city, but the removal shall not be effected until one year after annexation proceeding affecting the area in question has become final.
Whenever a county has completed a functional and jurisdictional classification of highways and the classification plan has been approved by the county board, the local governing bodies and the department, those roads and streets allocated to the county's jurisdiction will be known as county trunk highways. Additions and deletions from the county trunks under this paragraph in the various municipalities may be made as provided in pars. (a)
The county trunk system shall be marked and maintained by the county. No county shall be responsible for the construction and maintenance of a city or village street on the county trunk highway system to a greater width than are those portions of such system outside the village or city and connecting with such street. When a portion of a county trunk highway extending from one county to another has less mileage than is practical for a patrol section, such portion shall be patrolled by the county in which the major portion of the highway lies, and each county shall bear its proportionate share of the expense of maintenance, payable monthly. The marking and signing of the county trunk highway systems shall be uniform throughout the state, as prescribed by the department.
The county highway committee, subject to the approval of the county board, may enter into agreements with the department as provided in s. 86.25 (2)
Sub. (1), as amended by ch. 160, laws of 1973, does not require counties to develop a functional and jurisdictional classification of highways. Nor is a properly approved classification plan a prerequisite to a county board's exercise of its authority pursuant to sub. (1) to incorporate town roads into the county trunk highway system without prior approval of town boards. 63 Atty. Gen. 125.
Federal aid secondary highways.
The county highway committee shall cooperate with the department in the selection of a system of federal aid secondary and feeder roads within the meaning of the Federal Aid Road Act approved July 11, 1916 (39 Stats. at L. 355
), and all acts amendatory thereof and supplementary thereto. The county highway committee shall request and consider recommendations from the governing bodies of municipalities within the county as to eligible highways and streets within such municipalities to be selected as part of such system. The highways and streets selected by the committee to be a part of such system shall be subject to the approval of the county board.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (8) (c)
; 1985 a. 223
Controlled-access highways. 83.027(1)(1)
Authority of county board; procedure.
The legislature declares that the effective control of traffic entering upon or leaving intensively traveled highways is necessary in the interest of public safety, convenience and the general welfare. The county board may designate as controlled-access highways the portions of the county trunk system on which, after traffic engineering surveys, investigations and studies, it finds, determines and declares that the average traffic potential is in excess of 1,000 vehicles per 24-hour day, except such controlled-access designation shall not be effective in cities, villages and towns until the decision of the county board has been referred to and approved by the governing body of such city, village or town. Such designation of a portion of any county trunk highway in any county as a controlled-access highway shall not be effected until after a public hearing in the matter has been held in the county courthouse or other convenient public place within the county following notice by publication of a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
. If the county board then finds that the average traffic potential is as provided by this subsection, and that the designation of the highway as a controlled-access highway is necessary in the interest of public safety, convenience and the general welfare, it shall make its finding, determination and declaration to that effect, specifying the character of the controls to be exercised. Copies of the finding, determination and declaration shall be recorded with the register of deeds, filed with the county clerk, and published in the newspaper in which the notice of hearing was published, and the order shall be effective on such publication. At the time of designating such controlled-access mileage, the total of such mileage in any county shall not exceed 35 percent of the county trunk mileage in such county on the preceding January 1 as published by the department.
(2) Controlled-access highway defined.
For the purposes of this section, a controlled-access highway is a highway on which the traffic is such that the county board has found, determined and declared it to be necessary, in the interest of the public safety, convenience and the general welfare to prohibit entrance upon and departure from the highway or street except at places specially designated and provided for such purposes, and to exercise special controls over traffic on such highway or street.
(3) Construction; other powers of county board.
In order to provide for the public safety, convenience and the general welfare, the county board may use an existing highway or provide new and additional facilities for a controlled-access highway and so design the same and its appurtenances, and so regulate, restrict or prohibit access to or departure from it as the county board deems necessary or desirable. The county board may eliminate intersections at grade of controlled-access highways with existing highways or streets, by grade separation or service road, or by closing off such roads and streets at the right-of-way boundary line of such controlled-access highway and may divide and separate any controlled-access highway into separate roadways or lanes by raised curbings, dividing sections or other physical separations or by signs, markers, stripes or other suitable devices, and may execute any construction necessary in the development of a controlled-access highway including service roads or separation of grade structures.
(4) Connections with other highways.
After the establishment of any controlled-access highway, no street or highway or private driveway, shall be opened into or connected with any controlled-access highway without the previous consent and approval of the county board, in writing, which shall be given only if the public interest shall be served thereby and shall specify the terms and conditions on which such consent and approval is given.
(5) Use of highway.
No person shall have any right of entrance upon or departure from or travel across any controlled-access highway, or to or from abutting lands, except at places designated and provided for such purposes, and on such terms and conditions as may be specified from time to time by the county board.
(6) Abutting owners.
After the designation of a controlled-access highway, the owners or occupants of abutting lands shall have no right or easement of access, by reason of the fact that their property abuts on the controlled-access highway or for other reason, except only the controlled right of access and of light, air or view.
(7) Special crossing permits.
Whenever property held under one ownership is severed by a controlled-access highway, the county board may permit a crossing at a designated location, to be used solely for travel between the severed parcels, and such use shall cease if such parcels pass into separate ownership.
Any lands or other private or public property or interest in such property needed to carry out the purposes of this section may be acquired by the county board as provided in ss. 83.07
(9) Cooperative agreements.
To facilitate the purposes of this section, the county board and the governing bodies of a city, town or village are authorized to enter into agreements with each other or with the federal government respecting the financing, planning, establishment, improvement, maintenance, use, regulation or vacation of controlled-access highways or other public ways in their respective jurisdictions.
(10) Local service roads.
In connection with the development of any controlled-access highway, the county board and city, town or village highway authorities are authorized to plan, designate, establish, use, regulate, alter, improve, maintain or vacate local service roads and streets or to designate as local service roads and streets any existing roads or streets, and to exercise jurisdiction over local service roads in the same manner as is authorized over controlled-access highways under this section if, in their opinion, such local service roads or streets shall serve the necessary purposes.
(11) Commercial enterprises.
No commercial enterprise shall be authorized or conducted within or on property acquired for or designated as a controlled-access highway.
(12) Unlawful use of highway; penalties.
It is unlawful for any person to drive any vehicle into or from a controlled-access highway except through an opening provided for that purpose. Any person who violates this provision may be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than 30 days or both.
A controlled-access highway shall remain such until vacated by order of the county board. The discontinuance of all county trunk highway routings over a highway established as a controlled-access highway shall summarily vacate the controlled-access status of such section of highway only after a traffic engineer survey investigation and study finds, determines and declares that the vacating of the controlled-access status is in the public interest. Such vacating shall not be effected until after a public hearing is held in the county courthouse or other convenient place within the county, following notice by publication as provided in sub. (1)
. The county board shall record formal notice of any vacation of a controlled-access highway with the register of deeds of the county wherein such highway lies.
This section must be satisfied to create a controlled-access highway. However, a county may adopt an ordinance to control driveway access from private property to a public thoroughfare without creating a controlled-access highway. Mommsen v. Schueller, 228 Wis. 2d 627
, 599 N.W.2d 21
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-3095
County aid; local levy; donations.