Roundabouts, shoulder widening and reconstruction of roads are just a few of the projects approved by the Douglas County commissioners at the Tuesday, Jan. 19, board meeting.

The commissioners approved the five-year construction plan presented by Tim Erickson, Douglas County Public Works director.

Erickson told commissioners that the plan is a tool used to manage funding for road and bridge projects. The plan, he said, is fluid and can change, especially in years 2023, 2024 and 2025. For the most part, the projects planned for 2021 and 2022 are set.

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Funding for the road construction projects come from several sources including the gas tax which is state aid funding, the half-cent local option sales tax, local levy (property taxes), as well as federal funds and grants, among others.

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“Approving the five-year plan gives me authorization to do these projects, knowing the plans could change,” Erickson said.

Some of the larger projects over the next five years are putting in a couple of new roundabouts, including one this year at the intersection of County Roads 8 and 40. The newly constructed roundabout is funded through the special half-cent local option sales tax, which was adopted in 2014.

County Road 8, known as the Barrett Road, and County Road 40, which was and still connects to 114, is slightly north and mostly west of Alexandria. Because of how the roads are built, the intersection doesn’t square up perfectly, which is why it has to be rebuilt. Public works officials have said that putting in a roundabout is the safest option for that intersection.

A roundabout is scheduled to be constructed next year on County Road 45 at the intersection with County Road 82 by the YMCA and another one is being planned for 2024 on County Road 22 at the intersection with Voyager Drive near Kincaid Cemetery, Casey’s General Store and Shalom Lutheran Church.

Other roads under construction this year will include County Roads 1, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 38, 62 and 107. Projects include grading, resurfacing, widening and in the case of County Road 13, curve realignment.

Roads impacted next year will include County Roads 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 24 and 45 with some of the same type of work being done.

Another big project in the works, although not actually scheduled yet, is a new bike path along County Road 46, which would start at the roundabout and then go north to County Road 82. This road goes by Woodland Elementary School and First Lutheran Church.

The commissioners approved a resolution supporting the bike path project as funding is being secured. Public works has applied for a grant through the Transportation Alternative Program. In addition, the commissioners approved a resolution signifying that Douglas County would be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the bike path once it’s constructed.

In other action

The commissioners approved the following other items:

  • Final plat of Horsefeather Acres, a two-lot plat in Millerville Township.

  • Disposal hauler and excavator/landscaper licenses.

  • Agreement with the Department of Natural Resources for watercraft inspection, along with the request to advertise for and hiring of watercraft inspectors for Douglas County.

  • Wetland and habitat easements for five properties in the county including two in Evansville Township, two in Lund Township and one in Leaf Valley Township.

  • Donations totaling $140 to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, along with a donation of 22 cots and 25 sheets to Douglas County Emergency Management to be used for sheltering purposes.