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DOT's proposed plan for South Avenue affects area businesses

Boyer's Budget Furniture one of eight properties

South Avenue Plans to Move Forward

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is making its final recommendations on a reconstruction project for South Avenue.

At a public forum Thursday, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation presented a preferred alternative plan for reconstructing South Avenue.

Driving along South Avenue in La Crosse can be dangerous.

"Currently what we have out here is a four-lane undivided road, which leads to a lot of rear-end and sideswipe crashes,” said Jim Rohe of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 

To reconstruct the road, the department came up with four alternatives, or designs plans, to make the road safer.

Now the DOT is recommending to move forward with a plan that doesn't expand the road.

"This alternative fits within the footprint of the current road,” Rohe said. “Except at some of the intersections where we're going to put roundabouts."

Those roundabouts could be located at East Avenue, 16th Street and West Avenue.

"This design with the three roundabouts and the narrow medians, essentially doesn't allow those left turns,” Rohe said.

The plan affects eight properties, and Rick Boyer's furniture business is on the list.

"We looked at the four different plans and nothing is set in stone yet, but all of the plans show us being eliminated,” Boyer said.

While the DOT has promised to find a new location for the business losing this location is tough.

"We have a lot of history of furniture with the Boyer family in La Crosse, and we certainly don’t want to lose that and we have a lot of customers who don't want to lose that, either," Boyer said. 

But the DOT says this plan makes the road much safer while having the least impact.

"It was the lowest-cost option, and it also required the least amount of real-estate, and the acquiring of properties,” Rohe said.

The city of La Crosse conducted its own study to look at the potential plans for South Avenue.

After months of reviewing, however, they also recommended the DOT's plan.

If the plans move forward, construction on the project is expected to begin in 2022.

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