107.5FM WCCN The Rock - The Coolest Station in the Nation
Memories 1370AM 98.5FM
98.7FM / 1450AM WDLB - Timeless Classics
Listen Live: 107.5 THE ROCK92.7 FM
Family owned radio stations serving all of Central Wisconsin


Tuesday, February 28th, 2006 -- 10:11 AM

Should municipalities be liable if a motorist gets into an accident after hitting a pothole? Current state law says municipalities are liable for damages of up to $50,000 if there is ?an insufficiency or want of repair of a highway, which includes shoulders, sidewalks, and bridges?.

But that specific liability would be lifted if the Governor signs the ?Pothole Liability Bill? (AB 509), which has already passed through both houses of the state legislature.

AB 509 has the support of County officials around the state, including Clark County?s Highway Commissioner, Randy Anderson. Clark County?s Highway Department is responsible for keeping up around 450 miles of county and state roads. Given 'Wisconsin's' harsh weather, Anderson says it's just not reasonable to expect the highway crews to have every pothole filled at any given moment.

"We can patch them all today, but with Mother Nature, we may have to go and patch them all again tomorrow," Anderson says.

But even if it is signed, no one believes lawsuits against municipalities will cease.

"It wil help, but the County has deep pockets. We're always going to be in some type of lawsuit situation. We're a big target," Anderson says.

A similar piece of legislation was passed through the legislature last year, but was vetoed by the Governor. Anderson says the current legislation has been ?massaged? and supporters are hopeful the Governor will sign it.

AB 509 would not affect an immunity exception that allows municipalities to be held liable for damages if they allow snow or ice to sit on a roadway for at least three weeks.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.