Mayor calls for complete rebuild of La Crosse Street

The mayor of La Crosse said he wants to completely rebuild La Crosse Street and make the Wisconsin Department of Transportation pay for it. He said because the 1.5 mile road is a connecting highway, the DOT should be the agency overseeing that construction, however the city can’t wait any longer.

The city is currently getting cost estimates for repairs on three of the worst-hit areas of La Crosse Street.

“If you’ve ever driven that, you know it’s like the worst possible spot ever,” said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.

City officials have already set aside almost $40,000 for construction. While some of the sections are expected to cost a few thousand dollars, repairs to the road at the 4th Street intersection have a much larger price tag.

“We’re estimating at… almost $29,000,” Kabat said.

Kabat said the city has been in talks with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation about prioritizing the project, but hasn’t seen any movement.

“When it gets time to rebuild the road, it’s the state’s responsibility to do that and they’re not living up to their responsibility. And so, we’re going to go ahead and address it,” Kabat said.

He’s planning on having the city pay for the smaller construction projects and then send the tab to the state. But he’s already looking ahead at doing the entire road, which could call for a more significant part of the budget.

“By absorbing [the costs of ] La Crosse Street, that is going to push some of these [other] projects out,” Kabat said.

While city officials look into how feasible this could be, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is keeping a close eye on the progress.

“I think right now in its current condition, it doesn’t look well for the city or the university as you come into a road that desperately needs to be repaired,” said Doug Pearson, executive director of Facilities, Planning and Management at UWL.

Doug Pearson said UWL is excited to see the city potentially take on the project and the school would be willing to work with city leaders as this moves forward.

“We’re certainly willing to cooperate to change our routes to parents drop off students at move in and move out. I think we can cooperate enough so this is a successful project.”