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La Crosse County receives grant to replace load-restricted bridges

Kaitlyn Riley

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Helping bridge farmers to increased efficiency, La Crosse County was one of 152 local communities awarded a transportation grant under the one-time, $75 million Multimodal Local Supplement program.

Three bridges in the towns of Barre and Farmington will be replaced, eliminating significant detours for farmers and other area businesses.

“Today is a great way to talk about how we are connecting the dots,” Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Interim Secretary, said. “The Department of Transportation is making that connection directly with agriculture.”

Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Interim Secretary

Romanski noted agriculture is a $105 billion industry for Wisconsin that has a ripple effect throughout the entire economy.

“The importance of a strong infrastructure is paramount in a place like rural La Crosse County,” Romanski said. “All of those investments help strengthen the state.”

Those three bridges are at County T over Fleming Creek (Town of Farmington), County YY over Br of Bostwick Creek (Town of Barre), and County I over Br of Bostwick Creek (Town of Barre).

The bridges were built in the 1970s and have load postings that result in significant detours of eight to 11 miles. They are in areas of heavy agricultural use and impact the farm to market routes, decreasing the profit margin in an already tight industry.

“It is a way to make sure transportation dollars are getting right down to the root of where the production is happening,” Romanski said.

The project estimate is $449,966 and was awarded $314,997.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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