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The 20-year plan to fix La Crosse Street begins Monday



File - Highway 16 (La Crosse Street) near UW-La Crosse on Sept. 21, 2021. This stretch is scheduled for a makeover by the Wisconsin DOT, beginning June 6, 2022. (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

La Crosse Street, it’s finally getting fixed.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers recently signed a $6.7 million contract to “improve safety, operations and pavement conditions” of Highway 16, between West Avenue and Losey Boulevard, a release Tuesday said.

Construction by the state is scheduled to begin June 6 and to be completed by May, 2023.

With that impending start date, the topic came up last month on La Crosse Talk PM with guest Mayor Mitch Reynolds.

“Fix the roads,” and, more specifically, fix La Crosse Street was a contentious topic 4-5 years ago for Reynolds when he was the host of the show. But the mayor had to point out, it wasn’t because the project was, at that time, being delayed just a couple years.

“This was planned 20 years ago,” Reynolds said. “Twenty years ago. When the state was planning the redo of La Crosse Street.

“This has been a long, long time coming.”

Now, Reynolds can be sarcastic, so he was asked if that was the case, it being 20 years old. He wasn’t, but he did correct himself.

“It’s actually more than 20,” Reynolds continued. “Back in 1998, when that referendum — back in the original days of the north-south corridor fight — this project was part of that whole plan.

“This has been a long time in the planning process. Yeah, they’re just getting started and the state moves at its own schedule.”

File – Highway 16 (La Crosse Street) near UW-La Crosse on Sept. 21, 2021. This stretch is scheduled for a makeover by the Wisconsin DOT, beginning June 6. (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

That north-south corridor plan was recently scratched from the state’s agenda.

Asked if the La Crosse Street fix was going to be anything special, Reynolds said it’s not.

“No, not really,” he said. “That’s the part that’s puzzling to me, is that, really, you’re ripping up the street, you’re throwing down some concrete. There’s a little bit of an adjustment to width. We’re doing some stormwater and some sanitary-sewer stuff. There’s some communications stuff — all these utilities are in the way. We gotta do some adjustments with those. But, for the most part, no, it’s just redoing a street.”

A release from the DOT said the project will construct two 11-foot driving lanes and a 12-foot center turn lane. On-street bike accommodations will be added along with flashing beacon systems at two locations.

Chippewa Concrete Services of Chippewa Falls is the prime contractor for the project.

Construction will happen in three segments — moving from west to east:

  • WIS 35/West Avenue to East Avenue
  • East Avenue to Hillview Avenue
  • Hillview Avenue to Losey Boulevard.

La Crosse Street will be closed to through traffic between West Avenue and East Avenue during the first stage of construction, which is expected to last two months. Access to businesses and residences will remain open. Through traffic will be detoured using Main Street.

Access to Myrick Park and the La Crosse Marsh trails system will remain open throughout the project. During the first stage, access to the park will use Myrick Park Drive.

The second stage will use 22nd and 23rd streets. The final stage will use Myrick Park Drive. Myrick Park will also be accessible from Losey Boulevard for a majority of the project.

La Crosse Street will be open to normal traffic operations from December until completion work in the spring of 2023. The schedule is dependent on favorable weather conditions and construction progress.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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