Residents remain divided over DOT plans

Six plans unveiled to public Wednesday evening

To address growing traffic in the La Crosse area, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on Wednesday evening unveiled to the public six plans formulated as a result of the Coulee Region Transportation study Wednesday evening.

Some of the plans include expansion of existing roads, such as Highway 16 , as well as potential new corridors through the marsh.

Dennis King may be retired, but he’s still not immune to La Crosse’s traffic.

“To come from Onalaska to La Cross to this location 12-15 minutes, tonight it took me 42,” said King.

And for someone who’s live here for many years, it’s a problem that hasn’t seen any resolution.

“We’ve been studying this problem for 20 years, and haven’t done basically anything,” said King.

Much of the six plans unveiled by the Wisconsin DOT at the meeting call for building through portions of the marsh.
Despite environmental concerns, it’s something King thinks the community should consider.

“I think with our engineering, we could build something through the marsh that would still support it,” said King.

But for Richard Frost, plans that include any building, especially on the marsh, is a plan that’s unacceptable.

“It’s been encroached upon through development throughout its history, and we have a fine marsh there,” said Frost. “There’s three roads across it, I think that’s enough.”

He says while there is concession at times, he doesn’t think there is a large traffic problem in the area.
He wants to hear more solutions that don’t involve building new roads.

“I’d like the DOT to look at other solutions of how to streamline traffic on our existing roads, and maybe expand existing roads, but not to build a new road through the marsh,” said Frost.

Even after hearing these plans, residents in the area are still far apart on what should be done.

“If they thought bigger and looked for more solutions, they’d be further ahead and they wouldn’t have so much opposition,” said Frost.

“I just hope the people of La Crosse get their head out of the sand and some day we have to do something,” said King.

The DOT will be holding another presentation Thursday at Onalaska City Hall Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.