Sunday, June 14, 2009

WisDOT: the neighbor from hell

Just once.

That's how often the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will have its thousands of miles of rights of way mowed this year.

Just once. And it will be just a partial mow.

Interim Milwaukee County Public Works Director Jack Takerian told county officials that WisDOT delivered the news last month. The state pays counties to maintain state highways.

"Mowing - Efforts will be reduced," Takerian wrote in a memo. "The service to be provided is mowing only a shoulder cut, once a season, with one mower pass (no aesthetic cleanup). The exception is for spot locations where vision is a safety issue for that specific area. Mowing for woody vegetation in the clear zone shall not be done as a stand-alone work activity, but shall be accomplished with the normal shoulder cut. Such mowing will be in accordance with the thresholds and cycles prescribed in the WisDOT maintenance manual. Should the Milwaukee County decide to cut more than WisDOT has approved we would be doing so at our own expense."

Once a year. WisDOT officially risen to the level of "neighbor from hell." Not only will state-owned highways look awful, the invasives that WisDOT has been breeding there for the past several years won't even be cut down in a timely fashion, allowing them to flower, seed and spread.

There's more. WisDOT, ever happier building new highways, doesn't want the county performing routine maintenance on the existing ones.

"Preventative Maintenance and non-emergency concrete repair are considered non-critial and do not meet the State threshold for routine maintenance priorities," Takerian wrote.

The state is looking at other ways to get these things done, he said.

Meanwhile, while the state is looking, roads deteriorate.

And when WisDOT does get around to trying take care of its property, the problems will be much bigger and much, much more expensive to fix.

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