HISTORY OF THE COUNTY HIGHWAY
(PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT) BUILDINGS
The county highway buildings served the department until a new facility was erected on
approximately 52 acres of land south of County Road NN, formerly part of the county farm. The
new buildings were occupied in 1976. The office building is approximately 8,300 square feet,
and the adjacent shop is 25,000 square feet.
These facilities house 73 Public Works Department employees, which include the Highway,
Facilities, Solid Waste and Purchasing Divisions and department administration staff. The shop
and outlying warm and cold storage facilities store the department’s equipment, which includes
dump/plow trucks; combination trucks; loaders; graders; rollers; compactors; an aerial work
truck; chip spreader and wood chipper; a sign truck; a water tanker; tractors and mowers; an
equipment trailer semi and a portable salt conveyor. The variety of equipment helps crews work
more safely, mobilize more quickly, and provides flexibility for performing multiple tasks
without adding to the workforce. Currently, vehicles and equipment are maintained in-house by
skilled Public Works Department mechanics.
In 1976, department crews constructed a salt crib with a 3,000 ton capacity, and a sand crib
which holds 1,500 tons. In 1980, crews built two 18,000 square foot sheds for vehicle storage.
In 1983, the department moved two 1,500 foot quonset huts from their former site on North
Washington Street (now utilized by City of Elkhorn public works crews) to the complex on
County Road NN for equipment storage. In 1994, the first salt dome on the property was
constructed, and an identical dome was finished in 2009. Each dome can store 14,000 tons of
county and municipal salt. When the second dome was constructed, the department acquired
another 18 acres of county farmland for further expansion/storage.
In order to provide more cost-effective, efficient service and enhance public safety, the county
erected two remote salt storage domes near East Troy and Darien in 2001. The East Troy dome
is 2,025 square feet and holds approximately 4,200 tons of salt, and the Darien dome is 1,406
square feet and holds 3,500 tons of salt. Each of the two sites has a 24’ x 30' loader shed.
In the 2010 admin
istrator’s budget, funds were included for a 3,200 square foot addition and
minor renovations to the Public Works Department office building to accommodate the addition
of staff from other county locations as part of the consolidations of the former Highway,
Facilities and Solid Waste Departments in 2002 and the Purchasing Division in 2007.
In June of 2001, upon Mr. Coopman’s
resignation, Brian DuPont, P.E., became Highway
Commissioner. One of the achievements under his tenure was the establishment of the White
River State Trail, an 11.5 mile bicycle and walking trail along an abandoned rail bed within the
county, developed with assistance from the State Department of Natural Resources and with
oversight from the County Board of Supervisors. The trail was dedicated in June 7, 2003, and its
beautiful vistas and rural character are enjoyed by great numbers of County residents and
According to U.S. census data, Walworth County was the third fastest growing county in
Wisconsin from 1990 to 2000. Walworth County population grew by nearly 23 percent in that