Roads in the Town of Birnamwood
The Town of Birnamwood has State, County and Local Town roads within its boundaries. WisDOT maintains state highways and bridges. Local governments - counties, cities, towns and villages - maintain their own roads. The Town of Birnamwood manages a total of 43.10 miles of Town Roads. 36.90 miles are intersecting roads and 6.21 miles are dead end roads. The town's paved roads are rated every 2 years using the PACER rating system. The Town of Birnamwood uses these ratings, as well as the amount and type of traffic using the roads to develop a 5 year plan for road maintenance. The Plan is updated yearly based on the annual road inspection by the Town Board and budgetary restraints.
The Town Board currently has a policy, based on experience over the past 3-4 years of maintaining roads, that any intersecting road when deemed in need of repair, will be ground down to its base and re-laid with 2" of new asphalt based on the type of traffic on a particular road. The estimated cost of grinding and repaving with 2" of asphalt is $164,000 per mile. That means the Town is able to update less than 1 mile of pavement a year unless income from Wis DOT grants or other sources becomes available.
Dead End roads present a special challenge to the Town Board due to the low traffic volume. The current policy is to maintain these roads through patching rather than repaving. Adjustments to this policy may be needed in the future.
The Town of Birnamwood is a farming and logging based economy, thus the equipment traveling our roadways has gotten larger over time, even though most Town Roads were originally constructed to handle much lighter loads. Wisconsin law provides local government authority to set weight limits on their roads. Special weight limits for Implements of Husbandry (IoH) and Agriculture Commercial Motorized Vehicles (Ag CMVs) have been established by the Wisconsin Legislature. WisDOT publishes these regulations on the Local government Information web page. This page also has resources for local governments on IoH/Ag CMV regulation. Towns are given several options under the law as to how to implement these new weight limit regulations. The Town of Birnamwood has chosen the Pass no Ordinance or Resolution and Post Roads or Bridges options under Local Government Resolutions and Ordinances, which provides that all IOHs and AgCMVs, except Category B may operate on all non-posted roads with the new standards of 23K/axle and 92K gross vehicle weight (see more information on WisDOT website). Although no-fee permit applications must be considered by the Town of Birnamwood, the Board has adopted a policy of not approving these applications except in extra-ordinary circumstances.
The Town of Birnamwood does our own cold patching of potholes. Other road work including culvert replacement and bridge work are put out for bids.
Tree - Brush - Grass Cutting
Depending on the size of the trimming project, the town board determines whether to use a town employee or contract out with Shawano County Highway Department or an independent contractor for Tree and Brush cutting. Grass/Ditch mowing is currently done by the Town of Birnamwood 2 times a year, depending on growth.