Heavy truck

A rig operated by County Materials Co. of Appleton carries about 60,000 pounds of concrete block down Walworth village streets to the Big Foot High School construction site. (Photo by Chris Schultz/Regional News)

WALWORTH — The transit of an 80,000-pound piece of earth-moving equipment over Ridge Road and Devils Lane did little noticeable damage to either of the roads.

But village officials are more concerned about what is coming down those roads in the future during construction work at Big Foot High School.

Big Foot High School is in the middle of a $7.8 million construction project to expand and improve its athletic facilities on campus, including upgrades for football, tennis, soccer and track.

In early April, the Walworth Village Board asked contractor Hellas Sports Construction Co., for a security bond of $175,000 to cover possible damage to the roads from construction equipment.

The main concern was a 45,000-pound tractor-trailer transporting the 80,000-pound machine, called a belly scraper, to the work site over village streets.

Tim Boss, village public works director, said the tractor-trailer was specially designed to haul heavy equipment, spreading its weight over eight axles that reduced wear and tear on the roads.

But Boss and Village President Tom Connelly said they are still concerned about other possible road damage.

“What’s most concerning is the volume of traffic coming out of there,” Connelly said of the Big Foot construction site.

To get to the work site, trucks and equipment will have to continue to traverse Ridge Road and Devils Lane in the village.

Hellas project manager Ray Eimerman said that an estimated 2,000 loads of gravel and cement — each weighing between 40,000 and 80,000 pounds — will be coming into the worksite over the next five to six months.

“It’s the beating of multiple loads that has us worried,” Eimerman said.

Both roads are rated to handle vehicles weighing up to 48,000 pounds.

But that is not the only equipment that has to make it to the work site.

The village’s engineers, Baxter & Woodman, have cautioned village officials that Ridge Road and Devils Lane could be damaged by the weight of equipment and construction materials being moved to the Big Foot site.

The engineers recommended the $175,000 bond, which stirred concern among school officials that cuts would be needed to the school improvements to pay for the bond.

Connelly said the village wanted to make sure that it could cover the costs of repairing any road damage without having to dig into its own budget.

He said it remains to be seen how well Devils Lane and Ridge Road stand up to the pounding of heavy traffic.

Connelly said both the village and Hellas took video of the roadway in early April to provide some evidence of road condition before the heavy construction traffic started rolling.

Eimerman, who was at the April 8 meeting, said the $175,000 would probably have to come out of the $8 million bond issue the Big Foot district voters approved in November to pay for construction of the new outdoor athletic complex.

However, Hellas had the paperwork for the insurance bond to the village the day after the April 8 meeting.

Doug Parker, Big Foot district administrator, said Hellas posted the bond up front, which the district will have to reimburse later.

“Hellas took care of the bond, and we are hoping to come in under budget, which will cover the cost of the bond,” Parker said.

Chris Schultz has been a reporter for more than 40 years. He has been with the Lake Geneva Regional since 2010. He covers the Lake Geneva City Council and the Lake Geneva area schools.