Madison - Governor Scott Walker today gave approval to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to provide Disaster Damage Aids to help pay for repairs to local and county roads that were damaged after major storms that occurred in the summer of 2011. This will ease the financial burden placed on the counties of Burnett, Douglas, and Washburn following the severe weather in July and August in which winds exceeded 100 miles per hour, resulting in large piles of timber blocking more than 400 miles of road in northeast Wisconsin. The removal of the timber caused damage to local and county roads due to the heavy trucks and equipment used to haul the timber.
"I surveyed the damage resulting from the succession of storms in the summer of 2011, and saw the immense cleanup work left for local elected officials, state employees, the Wisconsin National Guard, state legislators, and volunteers from the area," Governor Walker said. "This funding will ease the burden for those counties affected by the storms, facing a financial burden to repair the roads that were damaged during the effort to clear the timber."
In July and August of 2011, weather events caused significant amounts of downed timber in Burnett, Douglas and Washburn counties, affecting at least 193 sites. Due to the impact of the downed timber on transportation and the potential threat of increasing forest fire risk, Governor Walker issued Executive Order #40 proclaiming a state of emergency and directing multiple agencies to remove the downed timber as expeditiously as possible.
The Governor's approval allows WisDOT to provide state aids to local governments for up to 70 percent of eligible costs. To date, estimated repairs exceed $14 million. The Disaster Damage Aids Program provides financial assistance to local governments to repair roads that have had significant damage due to a natural disaster event.