Crews in La Crosse prepare for the start of road construction season

Despite the unseasonable weather, road construction season is right around the corner. In La Crosse, crews will soon begin work on about seven miles of road projects.

A harsh winter and a number of road repair projects that weren’t able to be completed last year have taken a toll on roadways throughout the city. The street department said workers will begin some of projects as early as next week.

Together, the street and engineering department have 47 projects in La Crosse. But one of the biggest ones will happen on Losey Boulevard between State Road and Lincoln Avenue.

“As everyone knows, that section of Losey Boulevard needs some repairing,” said Stephanie Sward, civil engineer for the La Crosse engineering department.

Part of the problem is the base underneath the asphalt.

“It’s concrete underneath it and a lot of time it shifts and eventually it pops the blacktop up and then there are potholes,” said Andy Bakalars, assistant superintendent for the La Crosse Street Department.

But they won’t know the extent of that until they get down to the base and inspect it for themselves.

“It gets to the point where the road is only as good as its base. If the base is poor and you pave over the top of it- it doesn’t do much good. It deteriorates much much faster,” Bakalars said.

If need be, they’ll grind away the portions of the concrete that need repair.

“And the pavement should last a good 10 years,” Sward said.

Community members will see crews scattered throughout the city doing similar projects. Part of the problem is that the street and engineering departments can’t keep up with the amount of work that is needed.

“Usually we’re done by the end of October paving roads and last year we paved all the way til Thanksgiving,” Bakalars said.

But good news for people driving along Losey– crews only have a few months to complete the nearly milelong stretch.

“Since the high school was within the section of roadway that’s being done, we’re waiting to start it until after it is done for the year,” Sward said.

When this work is being completed, the road will go down to one lane in both directions. It should be completed by the time school resumes.

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