Wisconsin News

Construction season starting soon: What to expect

LA CROSSE COUNTY, Wis. - With warmer weather around the corner, some major construction projects in the La Crosse area will soon get underway.

From about now until about October, the La Crosse area will see more work done than what's been seen in the past few years.

"We will have approximately 1.5 to 2 miles of residential street projects this year," said Randy Hinze, street superintendent for the city of La Crosse.

Crews will begin curb replacement and street pavement all over La Crosse in early May.

More than 20 projects are scheduled, and that means residents should be prepared for closures and detours.

"Definitely for paving purposes, your street could be closed for a few days or as many as maybe two weeks, depending on the job," said Hinze.


"We want to get in, get done, and get out there as fast as we can," said Reiny Yahnke, Wisconsin Department of Transportation project manager for the Highway 16 construction project.

The Highway 16 construction project is set to begin at the end of April. It's one of the bigger projects scheduled for this season and could cause more headaches.

"The road is about 32 years old," said Yahnke. "Highway 16 carries about 30,000 vehicles a day, and it's just time to maintain what we have out there."

Workers will focus on the area from Highway 157 to Kinney Coulee Road in Onalaska.

The $1.4 million project will close that stretch of road for about three weeks.

For part of that time, drivers will have to take Highway 157 to Interstate 90.

"The contractors told us they will be working 24 hours a day the first two weeks to meet the project timeline," said Yahnke. "So we're trying to build the job as fast as we can."

But the one project nearly 50,000 drivers will dread is set to begin on Monday at the Dresbach Bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"The bridge is at the end of its lifespan," said Mike Anderson, Wisconsin DOT project manager for the project. "It's time to rebuild it."

The $184 million project won't be complete until 2017.

From now until then, drivers on Interstate 90 and Highway 61 will not only see lane closure at the bridge, but also detours leading to the Dresbach exit about two miles away.

"So they'll just have to get off the exit, go underneath the bridge and come back on the opposite direction," said Anderson.

While it will take about four years for crews to finish the work, Anderson said drivers will benefit for many years to come.

"The bridge will be wider," said Anderson. "We'll be improving the connections on the Minnesota side considerably, so it will definitely be worth it."

In total, the La Crosse area will see about five big construction projects this season.

Some other ones to look out for include work on the Highway 157 bridges over Interstate 90 between La Crosse and Onalaska. Work will take place from June to October.

From August to October, pavement and repair will continue on Highway 16  between Gillette Street and County Highway B.

More information on the Highway 16 projects can be found on the Wisconsin DOT blog.

Up-to-date information about construction projects in La Crosse can be found on the city's website.

Information about more projects in the area can be found on the Wisconsin DOT website.

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