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Wisconsin DOT presents potential plans on South Avenue

Plans vary depending on width of road

Wisconsin DOT presents potential...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - South Avenue in La Crosse is getting a facelift, but details of the reconstruction project are still being worked out.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is presenting four possible options to reconstruct South Avenue at a public meeting Tuesday evening.

The road work would take place between East Avenue and Green Bay Street.

Each plan is intended to find a balance between expanding the road onto properties along that stretch  and public safety.

For transportation officials, the South Avenue project is about one thing.

"Any proposal we move forward needs to address those safety issues,” said Jim Rohe, Wisconsin DOT project chief engineer.

The first plan, called Alternative 1, fits the new South Avenue into the space that already exists. It also calls for three roundabouts and a small raised median, but does not include accommodations for bicyclists.

"We crunched everything together in that alternative, yet we do think it would function fairly well,” Rohe said.

Alternative 2 calls for a wider road width, but adds a multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plan also includes three roundabouts, but with a wider road comes a new challenge.

"Right away when you get into adding the bike accommodations you're impacting more property,” Rohe

Alternatives 3 and 4 have a wider road width than Alternative 2. They add a separate bike lane as well as a sidewalk and adds either a raised median or a left-turn lane. The plan also removes the roundabouts and keeps traffic signals.

"That's why Alternatives 3 and 4 are wider, because we use signals, and we provide a median for left turn movements, which widens the road fairly significantly,” Rohe said.

La Crosse mayor Tim Kabat favors a plan like Alternative 1, but the city is beginning its own study of South Avenue soon hoping to find alternative options for bicycles.

The study is intended "to look and see if there are options -- maybe a parallel route for bicycles, for example -- that could run next to South Avenue,” Kabat said.

And DOT officials said once that study is complete,  the final project could look much different.

"The ultimate one may be a combination of some of those alternatives,” Rohe said.

DOT officials hope the project can begin in 2022.

The amount of properties impacted by the project depends on what plan is actually chosen.

The narrowest road will impact eight properties, while the widest will affect 25.
 


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