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Problems in Larrabee

Waupaca County Highway Department’s Larrabee shop. Submitted Photo

Waupaca County highway shop has issues

By Robert Cloud

Waupaca County Highway Commissioner Casey Beyersdorf has posted a YouTube video of the county highway facility in Larrabee.

The purpose of the tour is to show residents the need to replace the aging building, located near Clintonville.

In addition to the main facility in Waupaca, the county highway department has facilities in Larrabee, New London and Helvetia.

Crews from the Larrabee garage primarily service the northeast section of Waupaca County. Their plow routes include one U.S. highway, four major state highways, four county roads and four townships.

Eleven employees work out of Larrabee.

Since 1969, when the Larrabee facility was built, Beyersdorf said, “there’s been some upgrades to it, some roof repairs, parking lot repairs, fuel island upgrades,” but much of the exterior is rusty and needs replacement.

“The biggest thing that affects us at our Larrabee shop is the lack of space,” Beyersdorf said.

He noted that crews must pull the entire fleet into the shop for cleaning off corrosive salt and mud and preparing for the next snow storm.

The same equipment used for “summer construction projects, gravel hauls, earth hauls, pavement hauling, are the same trucks we’re outfitting in the winter months to plow our snow,” Beyersdorf said. “So our fleet is being used year-round.”

In the online video, Beyersdorf takes the highway committee around the shop and shows them a weak ceiling and an aging heating system.

In the building’s mezzanine area, sunlight shows through the failing roof.
The building has no running drinking water because the water has been found to have arsenic levels that are too high for human consumption.

The well that services the facility also does not provide adequate water for washing the vehicles.

A water truck travels from Larrabee to the Waupaca facility to fill up daily during the paving season.

Beyersdorf said a contractor recently flushed 22 feet of mud out of the property’s well.

He said he wants the facility to be on a parcel with access to municipal water service.

The building has 200-amp electrical service, which is insufficient for the needs of the department.

Outside, Beyersdorf noted that the ground is not level, it has two tiers.
“The building and the fuel island and the scale sit on the top half of that 6 acres, then down below is the salt shed area,” Beyersdorf said. “In the middle of winter during a snow storm, anything like that, you’re going up and down hills with trucks and loaders to get salt regularly. I’d rather it be one flat area.”

Estimated cost

Beyersdorf estimated the cost to purchase 16-20 acres of land, design and build a new building, parking lot, fuel island, salt sheds, storage and culverts would be around $8 million to $9 million.

He said the project would not be scheduled until 2030.

Instead of the county borrowing money for the project, Beyersdorf said that savings in the Highway Enterprise Fund could be used as a way to save money.
Waupaca County generates revenues from snow plowing and road maintenance projects that the highway department does for municipalities.

Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=HigvK-UOTwE to view Beyersdorf’s tour of the Larrabee shop.

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