Potential transportation solutions unveiled by Wis. DOT

Nearly 70,000 vehicles travel in and out of La Crosse on a daily basis, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said that’s causing safety issues and congestion problems on major roads.

Finding a solution to those problems is the focus of a year-long study by the DOT.

The Coulee Region Transportation Study began in January, and to-date, the DOT has held about 70 meetings and heard from nearly 1,200 different residents in the area.

Tuesday night, the DOT is unveiled the potential strategies it drew up using the comments and suggestions from those residents.

Some of the ideas include widening and improving Highway 16 from La Crosse Street to I-90, another would create an additional bridge over the Black River from French Island to La Crosse, and a few designs would add a four-lane road through the La Crosse River marsh, something the DOT knows has not been favored in the passed, but said most of the work would have little impact on the marsh.

“We’re trying to use roadways that are there, up in the north there’s a few connections we would have to make and there would probably be a little bit of widening on some of the existing roadways, but we’re trying very hard to minimize the impacts as much as we can,” Andrew Winga, DOT project manager, said.

La Crosse resident Tom Krajewski said he recognizes there is a lot of traffic congestion in La Crosse, but thinks there should be more effort put in a different direction.

“I think what (the) La Crosse area needs to do is think about ways not to speed up that traffic or increase that traffic, but figure out ways to displace that traffic, and by that I mean move people downtown so they can walk to work as opposed to being stuck in traffic for a half hour, 45 minutes,” Krajewski said.

Winga said the DOT will do environmental studies before any design would be finalized.

The study is looking at the transportation needs for the future. Winga said any sort of construction resulting from the study wouldn’t take place until 2025, most likely. The DOT projects significant growth in the La Crosse area between then and now, so transportation needs to be addressed now.

If you would like to see the designs for yourself there is a meeting from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Central High School in La Crosse.