Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
Roads and Bridges
-As transcribed from pages 117 - 118
Road and bridge matters have constituted much of the heavy work of the successive county boards. The early roads in Trempealeau County followed the river courses. The trail along the Mississippi and the trail down the Beef River Valley early became much frequented highways. Beef River Valley, Trempealeau Valley and its two great northern branches, Pigeon Creek and Elk Creek (Pleasant) Valleys; and its eastern branch, the Big Tamarack Valley; Bruce, Chimney Rock and Borst Valleys, tributary to Pleasant Valley; Beaver Creek Valley and its tributary, French Creek Valley, are all natural lines of travel, while the Trempealeau Prairie affords routes west and south from Galesville and north and east from Trempealeau.
The greatest difficulty in road building in the county is in crossing the ridges which separate the valleys. None of the roads of the county follow the crest of the ridges for any considerable distance, the longest ridge road being one of several miles between Pigeon Valley and Osseo. The southern part of the county abounds in rock, but in the northern part of the county rock for road building must be shipped in.
The territorial and early state assemblies designated certain routes as state roads; the early county boards co-operated with various other counties in laying out roads which would connect the widely separated pioneer hamlets, and also laid out such roads as extended across more than one township. The care of the roads and the laying out of short roads was left with the townships. Bridges were built in whole or in part by the county when it appeared that the construction of such bridges would impose too great a hardship on the individual towns.
Modern road building in Trempealeau County was inaugurated under the laws of 1907. In that year the county board outlined a series of "proposed county highways" covering the natural routes of communication within the county. E. J. Matchett was appointed county highway commissioner. Under this system the county was to pay one-half for the construction of county roads and the township one-half. Under the laws of 1911 the state pays one-third, the county one-third and the town one-third. The state money available, however, has not thus far been sufficient to meet the entire one-third, so in reality the county and township are paying considerably more than their respective thirds.
Trempealeau County was one of the first counties in the state to build roads under the laws of 1907. In 1912 macadamizing was started on the Arcadia-Dodge and the Galesville-Ettrick roads. The work of macadamizing, grading and surfacing has since continued until something like $400,000 has been spent within the county. The heaviest piece of relocation work in the state was done on the so-called Decorah Peak cut, near Galesville, where something like 35,000 cubic yards of earth were moved in a stretch of a little more than a mile, at a cost of about $25,000. The new road considerably modifies the grade and eliminates many dangerous curves. In 1916 Emil F. Rotering was appointed county highway commissioner, and under his able supervision, with the co-operation of the county board committee, the highways of the county are being gradually improved and the system extended.
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