The Ladysmith Common Council voted 7-0, Monday, to approve a state project plat for future improvements relating to U.S. 8 between River Avenue in Ladysmith and Prentice Street in Glen Flora.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is in the process of acquiring minor land parcels associated with planned improvements like curb, gutter, sidewalks and ramps.

The approximate 11-mile project also goes through the village of Tony and towns of Flambeau, Dewey and True. Existing highway pavement is deteriorating, and cracking and rutting are present. The curb ramps in Ladysmith and Tony don’t meet the Americans With Disabilities Act standards, and there is a small section of discontinuity in the sidewalk in Tony.

The work is currently scheduled for 2024 and is expected to take four to five months to complete.

“This is just the start of the process,” Public Works Director Kurt Gorsegner said.”It is literally a foot-wide strip there and a 2-foot wide strip there.”

The proposed project includes milling and overlaying approximately 11 miles of U.S. 8 with asphalt, replacing or removing deteriorated guardrails, replacing deteriorated sections of curb and gutter and reconstructing curb ramps to meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards, where feasible. It also involves constructing a short segment of sidewalk in the village of Tony between Linden and Walnut streets to provide continuity, installing new pavement marking, placing centerline rumble strips in rural areas to maintain safe operating conditions along U.S. 8 and paving the shoulders, including an additional two feet, and adding shoulder rumble strips to minimize run-off-the-road crashes.

From 2013 to 2017, there were 49 crashes along this 11-mile segment of US 8; 17 of them involved vehicles running off the road.

The state also will evaluate  the installation of railroad signals and gates at the County B railroad crossing in Glen Flora, which is adjacent to the U.S. 8 project.

Almost all work is anticipated to occur within the existing right of way. Minor right of way or temporary easements will be required at some of the curb ramp locations in the city of Ladysmith and village of Tony. To improve the curb ramps in the city of Ladysmith, right of way and easements will be needed from the city’s Memorial Park. Easements also might be required to add railroad signals and gates at the County B railroad crossing.

U.S. 8 will remain open to traffic, but there will be single-lane closures with flagging operations directing motorists through the work zone. Local and emergency access will be maintained to adjacent properties, but brief interruptions in access might occur temporarily at driveways. Shoulder and parking lane closures are expected during paving work. Pedestrians will be staged in the city of Ladysmith and village of Tony, where feasible.

Gorsegner said the project may be planned for 2024, but he told the council the Lake Avenue resurfacing had been planned in the city for 2012 but it wasn’t done until this summer.

The state also is planning for a U.S. 8 resurfacing project from Prentice Street in the village of Glen Flora to the east Rusk-Price County line. Existing highway pavement is deteriorating, and extensive cracking is present. The approximate 11-mile project also goes through the villages of Ingram and Hawkins and towns of True, Richland and Hawkins. Construction is currently scheduled to start in 2024.

The proposed project includes removing 2.25 inches of asphalt from U.S. 8 and replacing it with 3.25 inches of new asphalt from Prentice Street in the village of Glen Flora to German Street in the village of Hawkins and from Washington Street in the village of Hawkins to the east Rusk County line. It also includes removing the full depth of asphalt pavement and up to 2 inches of the underlying concrete pavement from German to Washington streets in the village of Hawkins, cleaning and patching that segment, replacing the curb and gutter and placing a minimum of 3.25 inches of new asphalt to match the new concrete gutter. It also includes removing curb ramps in the village of Hawkins and replacing them with Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at the crosswalks on U.S. 8 at Main Street and at the west side of Washington Street. It also includes removing an existing parking lane that is no longer needed for the telecommunication business east of Main Street in the village of Hawkins. It also will replace curb and gutter where needed at rural side road intersections throughout the project limits, install centerline rumble strips in rural areas to enhance safety and add shoulder gravel to match the resurfaced elevation of U.S. 8 and at gravel side road intersections.

Temporary limited easements will be required for replacing curb ramps and short segments of sidewalk in the village of Hawkins. U.S. 8 will remain open to traffic, but the highway will be reduced to one lane directed by flagging operations during milling and paving operations. Temporary driveway closures will be necessary during curb and gutter replacement in the village of Hawkins. Property owners will be contacted in advance before a driveway is closed.

A culvert improvement project is planned for 2023 along U.S. 8 between Ladysmith and the east county line. 

Also Monday, the council:

— Heard a presentation on the 50th anniversary of Westlake Enterprises. It will host an open house with tours on Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 3-6 p.m.

— Heard a public works report the city is in the process of looking at a possible 21 percent sewer rate hike.

— Heard the storm damaged, blighted and rapidly deteriorating former Methodist Church on Miner Avenue downtown will be torn down this fall. A plan to have the county highway department complete the work has been scrapped due to the department having other work. Now the project will be done by Haas Construction.

— Heard the police and fire commission received 7 qualified applications for an officer vacancy. Interviews were held by the commission.

Approved a Fair Housing Proclamation required as part of a Community Development Block Grant.

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