Highway A needs help
County Highway A between Three Lakes and Sugar Camp is being proposed for status as an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) route, a plan the Three Lakes Nicolet ATV?Club has already taken to the county highway committee.
There are some major problems with that idea mostly because we consider Highway A, in its current condition, to be one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the county. The combination of curves and hills doesn’t mesh well with a narrow asphalt surface, at least not when the traffic is moving at 55 mph.
Highway A should be considered as a candidate for a partially paved shoulder. Without that, it’s hard to imagine adding another traffic element into the mix. We see very view cyclists on that stretch of highway and it’s no surprise, given the abundance of rolling hills, sharp corners and the absence of a bike lane.
There needs to be a compelling reason to put ATVs on the same roadway as motorists who are traveling at 55 mph. Short of some severe hardship or a plan to use an extremely short stretch of flat, straight road, it makes no sense to put slow-moving ATVs on a county highway.
Besides, Highway A is one of the busiest stretches of road in the county. It is a commuter road that links Three Lakes residents with the county seat in Rhinelander, and Sugar Camp residents with its high school. In summer, tens of thousands of vacationers coming up the Highway 51 corridor must use Highway A to get from Rhinelander to Three Lakes.
The county has already set a precedent on the use of a county highway as an ATV route. But the stretches approved so far have been in remote areas on County Highway Y in the towns of Little Rice and Nokomis — stretches of road that get less than half the traffic of Highway A.
At this time, we would encourage the highway committee and the Oneida County Board of Supervisors to oppose the plan. Highway A is a dangerous stretch of road that needs a wider paved surface before the county considers any additional motorized vehicles for route access.
Joint Finance did well
We’d like to commend the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for its unanimous vote to remove from the budget bill a Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) proposal to eliminate its requirement to publish legal notices in newspapers when seeking bids for timber sale projects.
Instead, the DNR sought the authority to simply post timber sales on its web site in lieu of printing a legal notice in the newspaper that best serves the affected county. Newspaper publication of government information is the only way to ensure, through a third party, that it gets done — and gets done right.
The DNR’s plan would have reversed a basic government responsibility. It is the government that serves the public, and it is the responsibility of government to ensure proper notification of its actions — not the other way around.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, June 11, 2013 2:59 PM|