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Bridge, two intersections top county road work this year

People who drive around Pierce County during the upcoming road construction season should be prepared to encounter bridge work, intersection revamps and other upgrades on county highways.

Improvement projects on the county highway department's slate for this year are located in the far northwest and southeast corners of Pierce, and scattered inbetween, according to Construction Superintendent Jim Harris.

A bridge replacement will be done on CTH FF near 1090th Street in the Town of Clifton, Harris said Friday. The existing structure over a dry run will be removed and a concrete box culvert installed to replace it.

"The bridge's sufficiency rating has dropped," he said about the deteriorated condition of the span.

Meantime, traffic pressure continues to increase in that part of the county, where there's a high population growth rate, he agreed. The project should begin around May and take approximately 40 days for county crews to complete. Drivers will be detoured around the site, probably using CTH M.

On the opposite side of the county, right-of-way acquisition is being finalized now for a total reconstruction of CTH U south of Plum City set for 2008, the superintendent said. The mile-and-a-tenth stretch winds through an area containing many springs, ponds and hillsides. The project in the Town of Union and the village will include some realignment.

"It's been a long time since anything was done there," he said.

When the job gets underway next year, it will take the entire three months of the summer to finish, he said. Traffic will be detoured on a route yet to be determined.

Also looking ahead, the department will recondition a segment of road in the Town of Trenton in advance of a reconstruction effort there in '08. Harris said CTH K from CTH KK south to 380th Avenue will get the reconditioning treatment in mid-to-late summer this year. Next year, the reconstruction of CTH K from Hwy. 63 to CTH KK, a distance of three miles, is planned.

The work, scheduled to last around two months, will mostly be accomplished under traffic, though there may be some day closures. Widening the road and replacing pavement will be involved.

Otherwise for the future, culverts will be replaced along CTH G between Hwy. 63 and El Paso this season, he said. This will be in preparation for pavement replacement on G in '08. Additionally, pipes along CTH W from Hwy. 29 to the St. Croix County line will be replaced this year, also in preparation for pavement replacement on W in either '08 or '09.

The jobs will be done as the work schedule allows, mostly under day closures with the bulk of each project usually being achieved within a day.

In conjunction with the state, two intersections will be revamped, the superintendent said. These are where Hwy. 65 and CTH O intersect in the Town of River Falls and where Hwy. 10-63 intersects with CTH C on Ellsworth's east side. Turn lanes will be reconfigured and the corners will be "squared up" so they meet at more of a 90-degree angle.

He said the state-funded projects will get underway around July and each will last two-to-three weeks, to be handled under traffic. The makeovers are intended to improve safety at the sites, which have both experienced increased volumes of traffic in recent years.