The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is looking for the public’s input on their plans to improve traffic congestion in the Coulee Region. Many of their proposals involve building new roadways, but as FOX 25 48’s Erin O’Brien explains, one group says the traffic is good for the city.
With just three major roadways running north to south in La Crosse the department of transportation says it’s time to reevaluate how to manage all the traffic.
“We’ve found and we are experiencing high crash rates. We do have some congestion problems on some of our roadways. We have some deteriorating infrastructure that needs to be addressed.”
Through their year-long Coulee Region transportation study, they’ve narrowed the options down to six strategies.
“One of them concentrates kind of on Highway 16 so it expands Highway 16 to six lanes and then La Crosse Street to four lanes. We have four strategies that are more in the middle, and they take Highway 53 at the north and would turn that and bring it to one of the corridors in the middle. And then the last option adds in a route on the west side which actually incorporates French Island and makes a connection from French Island directly into the downtown area as well.”
Five of those options involve building new roadways, but one group in La Crosse says traffic is actually a good thing.
“Traffic is good in the sense that in the city you’re going to have a lot of people and economic and social activity. If you have a vibrant community you’re going to have traffic. That’s part of the deal. We want them to proceed with the no build option and look at all those and make those work.”
The department of transportation says the soonest we could see a major change in La Crosse would be in ten years, but they say now is the time to start thinking about the future.
They say this plan will last at least through the year 2050.
In La Crosse, Erin O’Brien, FOX 25 48 News at 9.
The department of transportation is holding two public input sessions next week to discuss the options, next Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Central High School, and next Thursday at 5 p.m. at Onalaska City Hall.