The number of roundabouts on La Crosse streets has grown lately, to include new traffic circles downtown and on South Avenue.
Wisconsin’s transportation secretary, Craig Thompson, said as drivers are getting used to the roundabouts, the demand for the circles increases.
“People in Wisconsin were resistant to roundabouts at first, like a lot of areas, and now, we can’t keep up with the amount of requests we have for roundabouts,” Thompson said, while visiting La Crosse last week to dedicate the South Avenue project.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) promotes traffic circles as a safer way of getting vehicles through an intersection than the traditional street crossings.
Also, Thompson says the agency is still looking at improving north-south travel through the area on existing highways, without trying to build any road through the La Crosse River marsh. The DOT announced in 2021 that it would no longer consider plans for a marsh road, and a state transportation commission also scrapped the road idea earlier this year.
“With the three main corridors that go north and south, 35, 53, and 16, we’re moving forward and looking at those,” Thompson said. “That’s gonna be the biggest improvement in the area, and doing it in a way that doesn’t affect any of the wetlands.”
City of La Crosse residents voted against a corridor plan through the marsh in a 1998 referendum.