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Elected officials in Town of Erin post information on road updates and tree removal

August 13, 2020 – Town of Erin, WI – Elected officials in the Town of Erin have posted on the town website offering more details on how they view upcoming road repairs and tree removal.  Town Supervisor Maripat Blankenheim  asked if the information could be posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com in an effort to balance some of the statements being made by neighbors on Emerald Drive.

Stories about how the property owners are trying to save hundreds of trees are available HERE.

One other update is the annual town meeting begins at 6 p.m. on August 17 at the Town Hall,1846 State Highway 83 South, Hartford. The meeting is expected to be held outdoors.

Rustic Road

The town of Erin has a responsibility to keep town roads safe for everyone. Unfortunately, a fair amount of misinformation is being shared on social media. In the interest of all concerned, these are the facts:

  • The town is responsible for the repair and maintenance of Rustic roads the same as any other road.
  • The town will remove only trees that are 12 feet or less from the edge of the road (with the exception of dead or dying ash trees)
  • The width of the pavement will not change.
  • In other social media posts, an article titled “Effects of street tree shade on asphalt concrete pavement performance” by E. Gregory Mcpherson was cited. This study was done in Modesto, California, where the December and January nightly average temperature is 38 degrees and the average yearly precipitation is 13.11 inches. The trees they planted were crape myrtles. This may be a good study but it sure doesn’t apply to Emerald Drive in Wisconsin.


We remove the trees (within 12 feet of the road edge) for many reasons.

  • Safety: If someone runs off the edge of the road.


  • Safety: Snow plows need to push snow somewhere and shouldn’t have to move to the center of the road for all the obstructions.


  • Safety: To allow the UPS, Fedx, and other delivery vehicles to drive on the road’s edge and not drive down the middle of the road.


  • Safety: When we have the next ice storm, the salt truck will be able to spread salt. During the last ice storm, we couldn’t salt some of Emerald Road because the branches were too low.


  • Safety: Animal avoidance. If the trees and brush are right up to the road edge, you are not going to see the deer (or other animals). If we have a 12-foot clear zone, there’s a better chance of avoiding it.


  • Safety: If we cut the trees back 12 feet from the road’s edge, hikers, bikers, and walkers have a place to step off when traffic approaches.


  • Economics: It was suggested that the town buy a smaller plow. Our plows are the same size as all the towns and the county. We will often keep the same plow truck for more than 20 years. A new plow truck can cost more than $200,000. Buying a small plow truck for one road doesn’t make economic sense. We have more than 56 miles of road to plow each snow storm.


  • Economics: We can’t even fix Emerald Road without removing some canopy. We will have to be able to dig with an excavator to undercut bad spots and raise a truck box for gravel. We also have to be able to pave the road which, again, we need to raise a truck box. The box on a truck is 16-20 feet long and needs to be raised at an angle high enough to dump its contents.


  • Economics: If we spend extra money on a custom road repair for Emerald Road, other roads won’t be repaired. We receive roughly $120,000 per year from the state to maintain and repair 56-plus miles of road. It costs roughly $250,000 per mile in today’s prices to rebuild a road. Other Erin residents want their roads fixed also. We have some stretches of Erin roads that no longer have any asphalt because we don’t have the money. Cutting trees back 12 feet is the most economic way to prepare the road for rebuilding. Having a tree service open up the canopy and maintain Emerald Drive would cost the town significantly more money. I would guess we are talking more than $200,000 for the next five years. Any other trimming process would cost much more.


  • Economics: Tree roots do a lot of damage to roads and sidewalks. We often remove tree roots when we undercut to repair the road base even when the tree is 25 or more feet away. A good rule of thumb is the tree canopy marks how far the roots reach.


Erin has two full-time employees for roads and a volunteer manager. We use your money to accomplish as much as we can. We are losing the battle with road repair. Short of more money from our taxpayers or the state, our roads will continue to deteriorate. We are doing our best to balance money vs. repair.


Emerald Drive is a public road paid for and used by all residents of Erin as well as visitors. Once repaired, the canopy will still exist. Everyone will benefit from the repair.

  • Dennis Kenealy Chairman – Elected 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
    Phone: 262.357.4785
  • Jeff Millikin Supervisor – – Elected 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
    Phone: Phone: 262.966.7204
  • Dan Coffey Supervisor – Elected 2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
    Phone: 262.673.5840
  • Maripat Blankenheim Supervisor – Elected 2018, 2020
    Phone: 262-673-2505
  • John Luby Supervisor – appointed 2020 for remainder of term
    Phone: 262-673-3682
  • Marjorie Bruha Treasurer appt. May 2020
    Phone: 262-673-3682

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