Wisconsin News

La Crosse set to begin South Avenue study

Project is scheduled for 2021

La Crosse set to begin South Avenue study

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - South Avenue in La Crosse has seen about 200 crashes in the last five years.

That's why the DOT has plans to narrow driving lanes in the coming years, in an effort slow traffic.

But the city is set to begin their own assessment on the road.

South Avenue in La Crosse, between Ward Avenue and Green Bay Street, will be given a facelift in the next several years.

"Largely because the turning movements, especially left turning movements, are being made on a live driving lanes, so you really have no protection when you're turning left," Jim Rohe of the Wisconsin DOT said.

The project calls for pretty big changes.

"Put narrow lanes in, use roundabouts in-between lanes so you wouldn't have such a wide medium," Rohe said.

But before the project moves forward, the city is doing their own research.

"To really focus on the current ride-of-way, the street connections and access, and the bicycle and pedestrian accommodations," La Crosse mayor Tim Kabat said.

"The DOT are waiting for us to have the Tool Design Group on board and come up with some plans before they sit down with us," City Council member Fran Formanek said.

The DOT says they welcome input from the study.

"We want both parties agreeable to those alternatives before we get feedback from the public," Rohe said.

But with the project already pushed back a year to 2021, the DOT is warning the city further study could delay the project even more.

"We got to be careful that we don't get moving now, because it will move another year," Rohe said.

Both the City and the DOT know it will take time to make sure things are done right.

"I think what the city wants to do is kind of set their priorities," Rohe said. "What's more important: effecting buildings, or providing bike accommodations?"

"I'm hopeful we'll keep working well together," Kabat said.

In April, the DOT scrapped plans to widen South Avenue, which would have impacted around 34 properties along the road.

Since that time, the city has been working on re-focusing the goals of the study, to focus more on bicycle access.

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