I-90 road construction kicks off; Major lane closures ahead

Most traffic will shift into eastbound lanes

A multimillion-dollar renovation to parts of Interstate 90 kicked off Monday. Crews began work on a 4 1/2-mile stretch of the interstate from the state line to Exit five.

Monday, construction workers focused mainly on the County Road BW Bridge, which runs over I-90. It won’t be until early next week that drivers really start to feel the changes, with certain lanes closing down. And with those lanes shut down, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is closing the welcome center near the state line to do a renovation there, as well.

For more than a decade, Chris Dahl has overseen road construction for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“Even on days like this, when the sun doesn’t shine it’s still nice to be outside,” Dahl said.

The project manager said this project is a long time coming.

“We are dealing with an old road out there; it was put there in the ’60s when the interstate was put in,” Dahl said.

Starting next Monday, I-90’s westbound lanes from Theater Road’s overpass to the Minnesota state line will begin to close, and all traffic will shift into the eastbound lanes, so crews can put in new concrete.

“Traffic will be crossed over, bidirection on what’s usually the eastbound road,” Dahl said.

Dahl said traffic will flow easily, with two lanes moving in each direction between exits 3 and 4, but be a bit more cramped between exits 4 and 5 with only one lane opened in each direction.

“It get’s kind of bunched up by the structure by four,” Dahl said.

In addition to the I-90 work, bridges over French Slough, Highway 35, 12th Avenue and Theater Road, and County BW will be resurfaced, and the rest area on French Island will be renovated.

“It’s part of the reconstruction of Interstate 90,” said Dave Clements the executive director of the La Crosse Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

La Crosse Tourism Bureau officials are working with the DOT to insure the redone rest area attracts people into La Crosse by representing the area.

“It will through photography, through graphics; and maybe some artwork,” Clements said.

Of all of the new changes Dahl said he hopes that there is one thing everyone remembers.

“Really we want to stress that people slow down and pay attention in the work zones for safety concerns,” Dahl said.

The speed limit will be reduced to 55 in the construction areas. The total cost of the project will be $18.2 million and be finished by November 2015. The rest area won’t be finished until November 2016.

Next year there will be a similar project focusing on the eastbound lanes between the state line and Exit five. It will go from March to November 2016.