Highway Department History

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History of Fond du Lac County Highway Commission

 

The Fond du Lac County Highway Department’s first Highway Commissioner was Michael Costello from 1912-1918.  In his commissioner’s report, he discussed the first blacktop layed with state aid.  The Commission installed eight miles of pavement without any injuries to any workers in 1912.  In his report, he requested an office and staff to keep the records that were required by the new state highway law.     

Dixie Street Location

In 1928, Commissioner J. S. McCullough (1928-1933) addressed the County Board to purchase property that had been previously leased by the highway department.  The department would use the property to erect a new garage, gas tanks and storage sheds.  A portion of the original garage, the front 50 feet, was being rented out to Mr. Schaefer & Michler for $50 per month in 1920. The existing garage, which is assumed to have been located on 4th Street in the City of Fond du Lac was said to be on “too valuable of property” was then disposed of.

highwaygarage

 



In 1929, Fond du Lac County constructed a new main highway garage on the Southern edge of the City of Fond du Lac, on Dixie Street, for a cost of $17,850.00.    That structure would be expanded several more times with the main bay in 1936, the East wing in 1959, and the administrative offices in 1962.  Prior to 1962, the highway administrative department was in the basement of the old County Court House.  Upon completion of the 1959 East wing addition, the highway department had a grand opening with a band, dancing, and refreshments.   Finally, the weld shop was the latest addition to the main building in 1995.  The original garage structure built in 1929 is still presently in use by the mechanic/shop operations on the West side of the complex along with all its additions which house the main operations of the highway department today.

 

Also on the property, an existing building that served as an old cattle loading complex was converted into an outlying storage building for the department.  A separate building located Northeast of the main garage was constructed in 1977 to house the sign shop, which had been located in the upstairs portion of the 1936 addition.  In addition to the existing salt sheds, salt domes were added in the mid 1980’s and 1990’s to increase the estimated salt capacity to 14,000 tons.

 

The Fond du Lac County Highway Department had ten outlining highway garages throughout the county to store a couple of pieces of equipment and trucks.  They were spaced throughout the county in New Fane, Dotyville, Ripon, Brandon, Waucousta, Waupun, Campbellsport, Mt. Calvary, Rosendale and St. Cloud.  These buildings were eventually sold in the mid 1980’s and operations were consolidated to three outlining buildings now located in Brandon, Mt Calvary and Campbellsport. 

 

            For a couple of years in the 1940’s, one of the highway workers, Pat Murphy, lived in the upstairs east portion of the main garage building above what is now the superintendent’s office.  Murphy would watch over the building and take any phone calls.  He had a small kitchen and a bathroom with a shower and sleeping quarters.  After he left, the upstairs was used as sleeping quarters for drivers during 24 hour snow removal operations.  The middle portion of the upstairs was used as a material testing lab for the engineers when the department had its own pits and asphalt plant which was later sold to Northeast Asphalt (NEA) in mid 1980’s.  The West portion of the upstairs was a sign shop until the late 1970’s.  Currently the vast majority of the upstairs is storage.

 

Fond du Lac County was the first County to have computerized accounting and payroll.   The Highway Accountant, Florian Zalewski, was given the task to implement this upgrade.  In 1974, payroll distribution was computerized and the first state invoice was produced with a computer by Fond du Lac County.  Fond du Lac County’s computer-generated invoice looked exactly the same as the paper invoice manually generated.  Processing was done in Appleton by Action Data (Lee Johnson).  During this time, Fond du Lac County also computerized time keeping.  The Commissioner, Norm Oberbeck, stated that the only requirement he had was that the time slip that the men had to fill out was to be one page maximum in length, which would then be transferred into the computer for processing.  Accounting staff accomplished that goal with the time slip only a half page in length.  Also during this time frame Fond du Lac County segmented all its county highway lane mileage on mile segments and kept track of the maintenance cost per segment using the computer.  In 1980, Fond du Lac County installed its first computer and highway processing was converted over during 1981 and 1982.  The highway department’s billing and payroll took up to 80% of the capacity of the county’s first computer.

 

EARLY CONSTRUCTION 1910’s-1930’s

 

            In the early years, highways were nothing more than narrow trails improved by horse pulling graders and maintained mostly by farmers.  Henry Hanke was such a farmer who was paid by the county to grade roads with his horse drawn grader.  Later, he became a full time mechanical grader operator employed by the County.  During those early years, some highways were constructed with gravel transported by horse wagons (sleds) from quarries across Lake Winnebago in the winter when it was frozen.  Typical roads were constructed by excavating the ditches and using that fill to construct the road bed.  In wet land areas, the department used tamarack logs to bridge over the wetlands, on which was followed by fill or gravel.

 

            In 1920, the highway system started its modernization, improvement, and construction.  In 1920 under Commissioner George Treleven, $4,600,000 worth of bonds was authorized for the purpose of highway and bridge construction within the County.   These and additional bonds were authorized by resolution of the County Board from time to time as funds were required to pay for improvements of the highway system within the County.  The improvements included grading, draining, and surfacing with Portland cement concrete or other suitable paving having a concrete base.  The highway widths were anywhere from 16 to 18 feet wide.  In 1920, the Highway Committee purchased a small mixer for building culverts along with five Northfield Graders, eleven graders built by the Russel Manufacturing Company, a number of three-and-half-ton trucks, and a drag line for crushing operations.  This equipment was added to the fleet of previously purchased equipment used to help construct and modernize the county’s transportation system. 

 

 

CONSTRUCTION IN 1940’s-1980’s

 

For approximately 50 years, the Fond du Lac County Highway Department mined its own gravel and produced its own blacktop.  It had numerous pits throughout the county. In the 1950’s, it had two crushers (Universal and Pioneer), one breaker (4” size), and two conveyors.  The original crusher was run by a D8 CAT.  The department had two Northwestern steam shovels.  All gravel was transported by 5-yard trucks (K-12 trucks with 12 cylinders that took 28 quarts of oil).  Oil was held in up to 10 tanks at the main garage for the asphalt plant, seal coating, and for the traveling cold mix plant.  The oil was delivered by rail to the department.  Eventually the department got out of the crushing and asphalt business because of environmental issues and excessive investment. 

 

  At the pits, the crushing crews stayed during the entire week and had a cook shack set up on site.  They slept in a sleeper trailer/wagon with bunks up to 8 men. The highway workers typically worked 10 hour days, 5 days a week in the summer and were paid straight wages for their hours.  In the winter the operating hours switched to five, 9 hour days with a ½ day on Saturday at straight wages.  Wages and benefits were not very good until the union started in the 1960’s.  During this time, management and workers would at times buck each other.  On one occasion after a meeting at the Fairgrounds with employees, Commissioner Harry Meixensperger found his vehicle vandalized with all the windows smashed out and the hood dented and scratched.  At one time, the Highway Department had over 120 employees compared with the 65 or so employed today.  

 

Fond du Lac County designed and constructed the county highway system during this time frame.  The grading portions of the highways were accomplished primarily by outside contractors with assistance from the Highway Department installing certain culverts and bridge extensions. Then County crews would then place and grade the base course and install a cold-mix or hot-mix asphalt pavement over the base. Old kerosene fire pots were used as lights for barricades. During this time, a large number of miles of County Trunk Highway were upgraded and rebuilt using Federal Aid.

 

  Highways were widened to 20 feet wide but bridges were somewhat narrower.  During this time old concrete 16 feet or 18 feet roads that were past their life were typically widened out and then overlaid with asphalt pavement.  The Highway Department constructed their own box culverts and widened narrow bridges during this time as well as installed corrugated metal pipe culverts and improved ditches.  One such bridge widening project was the widening of what was called the Burmeister Bridge located on CTH “V” in the Town of Eden.  The old parapet structure was widened in 1953 with what was reported by one retired county worker as one of the first pre-stressed span type concrete bridges in the State of Wisconsin.  The worker reported using an air hammer to remove the East parapet and cut into the existing structure’s slab.  New footings and abutments were added to the original structure followed by setting 7 prestressed members 23 feet long and 3 feet wide which were supplied by the F. Hurlbut Company out of Green Bay.  The structure has since been replaced with a new 90 feet span pre-stressed girder bridge completed with the reconstruction of nearly 1 mile segment of CTH “V”.  The highway reconstruction included raising the bridges elevation 20 feet and reconstruction of the intersection of CTH “F” and CTH “V” to improve sight distance and the steep profile of the highway.  The project was completed in the fall of 2013.

 

Some of the highways were constructed over marshland. One such project was the reconstruction of CTH “Q” in the Town of Calumet.  The profile of the highway was raised through the marsh using fill from cutting down an adjacent hill.  When the fill was added through this section, as the story goes, over the next couple of days the road actually sunk.  Workers realized that the highway sunk from the weight of the fill and base as they observed the ditches and trees along side the highway were now elevated.          

 

The equipment, especially the trucks, were somewhat unreliable back in the early days and it was not uncommon to be stopped by the State Patrol and issued warnings for safety issues with our vehicles.  Tom Scannell, superintendent and patrolmen from 1948-1992, remembers being stopped multiple times on the same day with the same vehicle by the same State Patrolmen.  Each time he returned to the garage only to be instructed to go back out with the same vehicle but use a different route to avoid being seen.  He recalls having to drive in the opposite direction to avoid being stopped, but even then sometimes encountering another officer.  Typically, the driver would say that the department was waiting for a part or would come up with some excuse as to why he was out on the road.

 

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Fond du Lac County turned a large part of the County Trunk Highway system over to the Towns.  All in total, the department turned over more than one third of the entire county highway mileage--approximately 167 miles to the towns.  If the highways being turned over to the town had not been improved within the past 8 years, they were improved by replacing any bad culverts, patching the base, and installing an asphalt overlay before turning the highway over to the township. The total amount of highways turned back ended up being a large burden on the townships as well as chopping up the County Trunk Highway System.  Since then, the county has taken back some of the highways and reinstated them on the County Highway System. 

 

WINTER OPERATIONS 1940’s-1980’s

 

            The Fond du Lac County Highway Department performed all of the winter maintenance on the highway systems throughout the county, plowing the State, County and Town roads.  In the 1960’s, the county discontinued plowing the town roads.  During the earlier year’s, workers in the outlying garages made their own decisions as to when to plow with little or no supervision from the main garage.  Drivers and their wingmen would go out with Walter Plows and open up the rural county.  In the very early years, it was not uncommon for residents to offer food or “beverages” to drivers in exchange for them to plow out their driveways.  On the early plow trucks, crews had to crank the plow down by hand and once the plow was down, it stayed down.  These same trucks were not very reliable and most did not have good defrosters or heaters.  Sometimes crews used salt to de-ice the windows of the trucks just to see. 

 

Plowing highways within the county is always challenging especially with the varying degrees of grade throughout the county.  In earlier years the highways were not as improved as they are now which added to the challenge.  One such challenge was plowing State Highway 23 Springs Hill.  This fairly steep grade required extra care and additional salt in which we allocated a four wheel drive Oshkosh truck for this section.  In the early years the grade was significantly steeper.  Semi trucks were notoriously getting stuck or could not climb the hill east bound.  One of the stories told was when Tom Scannell was assigned the route he encountered a semi at the bottom of the hill that could not make it up.  So he hooked up a chain and proceeded to pull the semi up the hill.  As he traveled up the hill he encountered another truck stuck in the middle of the hill so he decided to push that truck up at the same time.  So there was the county truck in the middle pushing one stuck truck while pulling the other.  

 

 

            In 1960, Fond du Lac County first started using salt for deicing the roads.  Salt was delivered in bags by truck, was unloaded and then mixed manually with sand.  The sand salt mix was made at the main garage with a half a bag of salt per yard of sand.  This mix was used only on hills, curves and intersections at the time.

 

During the blizzard of 1961, the City of Milwaukee requested three plow trucks from Fond du Lac County to help open their roads.  The trucks were called right off the county highways and dispatched to Milwaukee for over a week.  Six men and three trucks plowed 15 to 16 hours a day to reopen up the snow covered roads in the City.  The men were put up in a hotel and were fed in a diner across the street from where they stayed. 

 

Back in February of 1967, Fond du Lac County was asked to help assist with the blizzard that hit Chicago.  Three Walter plow trucks with two men each were dispatched out of Fond du Lac’s main garage to go to Chicago and plow the Dan Ryan Expressway.  It took them 11 hours to get to Chicago traveling at top speeds of 30 mph.  They arrived at 11:30 p.m.  Upon their arrival, they thought that they would start first thing in the morning after getting some sleep.  To their surprise, they were dispatched right back out on the highway to start plowing from Chicago to the Indiana state line.  They worked for 38 hours straight before finally getting a chance to sleep and rest.  They stayed at a YMCA downtown for 5 days and the only place open to get a meal was the local hospitals.  Upon reopening the highways, the Public Works department of Chicago wanted to pay the employees in cash.  The Public Works department came out with hard currency, but the crews declined the payment stating that Fond du Lac County would bill the City directly for their wages and equipment rental fees.

 

Equipment and technology slowly improved throughout the years.  In 1962, the highway department installed radios in majority of its vehicles to improve efficiencies and communications.  With the improved equipment, elimination of snow traps, and prior completed reconstruction of the highways, the labor force was reduced.  What once was a two man plowing operation with a plow truck driver and a wingman, could now be done with one person operating a plow truck for the majority of the winter events.

 

One of the more notable winter events was the blizzard of January 1978.  During this time, all the factories and businesses were released early because of the storm, but most road and highways were closed.  Barricades were placed on all the state highways leaving the City of Fond du Lac as well as County Trunk Highway “V”.  All V-plow trucks and wing men were on call all night for emergencies only as the snow buried most of the highway system within the County.  During the following days, the Highway Department crews struggled to keep the highways open with only a single lane as the crews encountered numerous stranded vehicles.  USH 41 south out of the City of Fond du Lac was at a complete standstill with stranded vehicles.  As a V-plow truck proceeded South from the City, it got as far as CTH “B”, 4 miles south of the City, when it encountered so many stuck and stranded vehicles in the south bound lane that it had to cross over into the north bound lane and continue South just so the road could get open and free the cars.  It took approximately six weeks with all the graders and Oshkosh V-plows to widen out the snow covered highways after the storm was over.   On CTH “F”, the Fond du Lac Reporter documented that nothing was immune from the grip of snow as one the V-plows laid on its side consumed with snow as it tried to buck through immense drifts.  One of the workers operating a V-plow removed his tools from his tool box while blasting through the snow because his tools were making such a racket as the truck broke through drifts higher than the cab.  All in total, winter operations cost Fond du Lac County 33 percent more then the previous year.     

 

During the winter of 1987, the Fond du Lac County Highway Department was running out of salt.  During that time, it ordered 20 railroad car loads of salt to be delivered to the main garage in the City of Fond du Lac.  All 20 car loads left the origin at the same time, unfortunately during the same time, there was a blizzard occurring out west where the salt was coming.  Because of the blizzard, the 20 cars ended up getting separated were distributed to various rail yards throughout the Midwest.  The department then got only one or two cars at a time.  The rail company had a hard time tracking down the lost box cars full of salt.  The final car load came in mid February after it was located in a downtown Chicago rail yard partially unloaded by a rail worker who was trying to make a little money on the side.  

 

THE 2011 Ground Hogs Day Blizzard

 

Over the past 3 to 4 years we have seen an increase in the snow storms and the amount of snow that we are getting.  Some of our veteran employees feel that we are now back on that weather cycle where we will be seeing a lot more snow storms.  Well February 1, 2011 was one of those storms.  Due to the blizzard conditions, Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department could not respond with their normal police squads.  Jeff Bertram, Shop Superintendent who was running the night operations, was responding to more Sheriff’s Department’s stranded vehicles then plowing our highways.  As officers experienced whiteout conditions and were getting stuck, he decided to allow the Sheriff’s Department Deputies to ride along with our plow trucks and to park all the Sheriff’s Squad cars.  We put 4 deputies in 4 plow trucks and allowed another 4 deputies to take the Superintendents four wheel drive pick-ups and other Highway Department four wheel drive trucks out to respond to emergencies and more than 150 stranded vehicles that were scattered throughout Fond du Lac County.  This was a huge blizzard that ultimately shut down I41 northbound lanes as vehicles were stranded all along that section of highway.  Reports of 12 foot drifts that made 41 impassable in places required the highway to be shut down for over 4 hours while Highway Department and tow trucks worked to Text Box: 1967 FWD Snowblower removing snow from I41 after blizzard of February 2011.clear the vehicles and snow off the road.  Ultimately it was over a week to clean up the entire highways and we brought out all 3 Oshkosh Trucks with there V plows to open roads along with our 4 graders and V plows.  The final clean up required us to get our old 1967 FWD blower from the airport to remove the remaining portion of the USH 41 drifts off the shoulder of the highway.  The cost to clean up the Blizzard was over $200,000 as we received 12 to 15 inches of snow throughout the county.

 

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

 

            In remembering the history of the Fond du Lac County Highway Department, one can not forget the individual workers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while employed.  Several individuals were killed while performing their work activities for the County.  Individuals like Jim Kelly who was killed while operating a shovel truck in 1952 at the main garage, Mr. Klosterman who was backed over by his truck while picking up garbage on side of the road, as well as a man only know as Skeater who was killed when a loader disengaged and pinned him between his 5-yard truck in Ripon.  One of the most recent tragedies happened when Dennis Roeseler was killed on USH 41, December 18, 2003 while on routine duty routing and sealing cracks on the highway.  He was struck by a passing vehicle within the work zone.  Although there are others not mentioned by name, their memory will always be a part of the tragic history of the Highway Department.  These individuals will not be forgotten, but their sacrifice emphasizes that the department employees work in an environment that is just as hazardous as the weather they battle.  Their ultimate sacrifice reinforces the importance of safety awareness and procedures when working with the heavy equipment, in dangerous construction sites, in bad weather and amid the traffic.  It is hoped those sacrifices are never repeated.

 

THE 1996 OAKFIELD TORNADO

 

            On July 18, 1996 a F5 tornado with winds that reached and estimated 265 mph went through the Village of Oakfield on a 13 mile path through Fond du Lac County.  It destroyed over 60 homes, 6 businesses, 2 churches, and 18 barns and damaged another 150 homes and buildings throughout Fond du Lac County. 

            Fond du Lac County Highway Department crews were on the scene within an hour, clearing the streets blocked by downed trees and debris so emergency and utility vehicles could get through.  For the next two weeks, the highway department had an entire crew and equipment including dump trucks, loaders, backhoes and chainsaws in Oakfield working to remove the rubble of the destroyed buildings and trees.  In charge of the clean up was Superintendent Mike Fisher who was a resident of the Village and was working on his house when the F5 tornado hit the Village.  Any debris that was remotely close to the right-of-way was cut up and loaded by our equipment onto our trucks and hauled away.  Crews from the City of Fond du Lac, National Guard, private contractors as well as prison inmates assisted with the clean up as we coordinated our efforts.  During this same time we also had crews working the following 4 weeks in the rural areas of Oakfield performing similar tasks.    

 

 

EMERGENCY LANDING

 

            In discussing interesting events that transpired one might add the emergency plane landing on USH 41.  Don Eserhut, Shop Superintendent happened to take the pager to be on call for one of our Patrol Superintendents.  Normally during this time of the year there isn’t any significant issues that would occur so Don was not particularly concerned with being on call.  Don recalls being paged around 7:30 pm on July 23, 2007.  Don responded to the page and to his amazement the dispatcher informed him that an airplane had to make an emergency landing on USH 41 and the highway department has been requested to assist with removing it from the highway.  Don called Lenny Koenigs in to assist with cutting the fence that was between the frontage road and USH 41 and then install a 5 yard load of gravel in the ditch.  The air plane was then towed from USH 41 through the ditch and cut fence to the frontage road where it ultimately was towed back to the airport.  

 

 

 

 

2008 WEATHER

 

In 2008 we had one of the more challenging years for weather.  The winter was one of the severest we have had on record.  Fond du Lac County received over 90 inches of snow fall which is over twice its normal average.  We battled snow event after snow event.  From January through March we were battered by an exceptionally long and snowy winter.  The winter did not stop after March but continued in November and December of 2008 as well.  All in total during this time we expended 10,800 hours of overtime and 20,000 tons of salt combined for both the County Highway System and State Highway System.  With our vast improvements to our equipment over the years and our dedicated staff we were able to overcome one of our heaviest winters in recent years. 

 

Just as we got over our winter operations and thought we should not have to battle Mother Nature at least until November along came another record weather event but this time it was in the form of rain.  In discussing weather we need to mention the June floods that put additional stress on everyone within Fond du Lac County.  During this time we had over $187,000 of flood related damage to the County Highway System.  Our crews and staff worked non stop to restore our highways and provide mutual aid to other municipalities.  We worked for over 3 weeks with two crews clearing, removing and hauling away debris within the City of Fond du Lac.  We had two crews working with the Gradall and one loader working in tandem and another loader with our small Case backhoe loader working together at a different location.  Both cleanup crews were supplied by 5 to 6 of our trucks.  Also during this time, we replaced culverts that were damaged or destroyed along with miles of re-shouldering on both the county, state and town highway system.  All this work needed to be fully documented and kept track of by our administrative staff as FEMA moved in to evaluate damages.  In times like these it demonstrates how government, not just the highway department can work together to accomplish goals and restore order.   

 

OPERATIONS TODAY

 

Although the department no longer owns or operates its own gravel pits or asphalt plant, it still continues to pave its own highways.  Routinely, Fond du Lac County repaves between 10-20 miles of County Trunk Highway per year contracting with a local asphalt provider.  The department continues to offer construction activities and a full service of maintenance activities like routing and sealing cracks, overlaying bridge decks, constructing highway improvements, constructing box culverts, marking pavement lines and symbols, installing signs, installing culverts, shouldering and ditching, landscaping, and installing asphalt pavements.

 

The department’s current staffing includes 52 (operational) employees and another 10 administrative support, engineering, and supervisory positions.  The department’s engineering department uses a state of the art CAD program, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and GPS survey equipment to design and construct improvements throughout the County.  The department maintains the vast majority of the County fleet of vehicles, including other departments, and has an auto body shop that can do full body repairs as needed.  The accounting staff records and tracks all this work to keep the department in budget.  They track and bill out job costs.

 

Some recent projects the department has done include construction of approximately eight miles of  a 10-foot-wide bike path for the Department of Natural Resources in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in the southeast portion of the county finished in 2009.  The department constructed a new 20-foot-span precast concrete bridge on CTH B in the Town of Byron in the summer of 2009.  The department has constructed a number of parking lots and road improvements for other departments and municipalities in the county.

 

From 2007 until 2013 the department oversaw the design, real estate acquisition, and construction of one of its largest transportation projects the county has ever undertaken, the CTH VV Pioneer Road Underpass.  This project reconstructed over 2/3 of a mile of CTH VV from west of Main Street to west of Hickory Street.  It included the replacement of the extremely deteriorated and narrow river bridge with a new 100 feet- 5 lane structure, a new multi-use pedestrian and bike path, construction of the first 2 roundabouts in Fond du Lac County and construction of a new 100 feet span railroad bridge that carries CN Railroad over the highway.  To accomplish this project we needed to excavate over 110,000 cubic yards of dirt and construct 3 separate retaining walls to hold up the embankment and install over 6000 linear feet of storm sewer to drain the nearly 30 feet deep hole created to allow for the grade separation of the tracks with the highway.  The project upgraded the single lane highway to a 4 lane highway with portions including a two way left turn lane and the remaining a divided median.  The total project costs were around $15,000,000 with state and federal funds making up for approximately $8,000,000 of those costs.  The City and County approximately split the remaining $7,000,000.  The project also included a work zone memorial which was an approximate 7 feet talk red granite stone memorializing Dennis Roeseler’s tragic incident and all highway workers who have been killed in a work zone.  The memorial stone was donated by Michaels Corporation and the picture was drawn by Fond du Lac County Highway Employee Andy Kastein which shows a standard work zone set up and includes the name of Dennis who was killed nearly 10 years to the memorials dedication.  The project was completed and open November 12, 2013 with a ribbon ceremony and memorial dedication. 

 

The next phase of CTH VV (Pioneer Rd) is currently being designed.  It will continue with the full reconstruction from Hickory Street north to Rogersville Road (Old CTH T) and include a roundabout at the intersection of Military Road.  The $5.5 million project is planned for construction in 2017.

 

In 2015 we made huge steps for the future with the completion of a new Campbellsport Highway Garage and in purchasing approximately 40 acres of property on Hickory Street just south of USH 151 for the future replacement of the main Fond du Lac Highway Garage and offices.  The Campbellsport Highway Garage is located on a 5 acre site off of CTH W and includes a new 20,000 square foot facility with a 4000 ton salt shed.  The building includes solar panels to supply the electrical needs for the facility along with both gas and diesel fuel stations.  Grand opening was in April of this year and total cost including property was around $3,000,000.  Conceptual plans and studies were completed over the past couple of years for the new Fond du Lac Highway Garage which construction is shown in the CIP for 2020.    

 

Hopefully this information gives you a general perspective of the history of the Fond du Lac County Highway Commission through interviews with previous retired employees as well as current staff.  

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Thomas J. Janke, Highway Commissioner

Fond du Lac County Highway Commission

 

 

 

1948-Present Office Staff*

 Fond du Lac County Highway Commissioners

  • 1912-1918 Michael Costello
  • 1918-1928 George Treleven
  • 1928-1933 J. S. McCullough
  • 1933-1962 John Bottkol
  • 1962-1973 Harry Meixensperger
  • 1973-1984 Norm Oberbeck 
  • 1984-1994 Richard Bakken
  • 1994 Florian Zalewski (Financial Coordinator) Interim
  • 1995-2007 Ernest Winters
  • 2007-present Thomas Janke

Accountants:  Harry Miexensperger, Harold (Smoky) Eakart, Florian Zalewsk (1968?-2003), Chris Daleiden (2003-2015), Kelley Benson (2015), Mary Jo Myers (2015-Present)

 

Engineers: John Bottkol, Robert Radke, Steve Chicka, Tom Janke (2002-2007), Paul Sponholz (2008-2013), Ryan Sommer (2013-Present)

 

**County Surveyors: Norm Hakala (2003-2008), Peter Kuen (2008-Present)

 

Chief Superintendents:  Vince Whalen, Alfonse Miexensperger, Bob Roehel, Mike Brown (1989-2010), Mike Fisher (2010-11), John Zettler (2011-Present)

 

Superintendents:                Paul Miller, Tony Pickart, Ed Shaefer,  

                                                Earl Shaefer, Cliff Pickart, Bill Ditter

                                                Vince Stakoso, Tom Scannell, 

                                                Mike Brown (1988-2010) Stu Kastein (1989-2009), Mike Fisher (1993-2011)

                                                John Zettler (2010-Present ), Joe Sabel (2011-Present), Andy Seibel (2011-Present)

Shop Superintendents:  Tud Brown, Jake Eigenbrodt, Harold Olig, Jim Schmitz, Don Eserhut, Jeff Bertram

 

Office Support Staff: 1960’s Robert? (Babe) Koenigs, Florence Mack; Betty Damm,  Roz Christie, Jill Krizizke, Karren Cook-Hoffman, Rick Rabe, David Beaster, Roger Lanning, Dale Bratz, Bev Hanefeld, Lori Dilling, Jennifer Theune, Laurie Kelley

 

 

*Note:             There has been numerous other office staff not mentioned.

 

**Note:           There have been numerous other County Surveyors prior to the Highway Department taking over the Surveyors Offices in 2003.

 

***Note:         If anyone has additional information regarding employment or stories they would like to add please contact the Highway Commissioner