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The highway department is seeking public input for planned improvements to Yellow Lake Road in the town of Union. The main topic of discussion is expected to be whether or not to raise the bridge.

Burnett County Highway Commissioner Mike Hoefs said this initial meeting is to gather input on conceptual design purposes adding a second meeting will be held next year.

“This meeting is to let people voice their opinion on the project,” Hoefs said. “The more public input we receive the better.”

Proposed improvements include removing the existing one-lane bridge and constructing a new bridge. The project is expected to take approximately two and a half

months during 2022. Due to restrictions associated with fish in the area and the in-stream work the projects earliest start date would be Aug. 1, 2022.

During construction the bridge will be closed for vehicles and the channel will be closed for watercraft.

The meeting will be held Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. at the Burnett County Highway Department, 8150 State Road 70 in Siren.

The first part of the meeting will include a presentation which will be followed by public comments and then an open house until 6 p.m.

A meeting notice stated social distancing will be required at the meeting and so will face masks/coverings due to Gov. Tony Evers Emergency Order #1.

Hoefs told the infrastructure committee he chose Ayres Associates, an engineering company with offices in Eau Claire and River Falls, to work with on the project.

Representatives from Ayres, Burnett County and the Town of Union will be in attendance to discuss the project and answer questions.

“The public is encouraged to attend to provide input on improvements and discuss any concerns they might have,” the meeting notice stated.

Hoefs told the Sentinel following the meeting that there will be a number of options presented.

“We will be seeking input from the public on what options they prefer,” he continued. “Based on comments we receive from this meeting, we will continue to develop the design and will have another public information meeting in 2021 to present what we've developed. Engaging the public in the process and keeping them informed will be the key to delivering the project from concept to completion.”