The Bangor Village Board is seeking public input on how best to approach repairs to Commercial Street.

Village Board President Gary Althoff said it’s widely known that the street is in need of repair.

At a recent meeting, the board discussed its options for addressing the street, which include a cooperative agreement with the county and a possible jurisdictional transfer of the county-owned street to the Village of Bangor.

Between the Village hall and 10th Ave. South, Commercial Street is part of County Hwy. U, and falls under La Crosse County’s jurisdiction for maintenance and repairs.

“We have a number of options,” Althoff said. “The first would be to do nothing.”

The county is responsible for maintaining the two traffic lanes along Commercial Street.

La Crosse County Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain estimated the cost of this project at $450,000. This would not include the parking lanes, curb and gutter, water, sewer or storm drains, all of which fall under the village’s jurisdiction.

“If they come in and do that, you would almost have to do the parking lanes, curb and gutter,” Althoff said. “We don’t want to dig up new streets.”

Chamberlain said Commercial Street has been identified as needing repairs but is not a part of the county’s five-year plan.

He said the county has roughly $100 million worth of priority projects, of which it can only address project totaling about $2.5 million a year.

“It would be really tough to catch up,” Chamberlain said. “Our first and primary concern is safety.”

He said low-speed urban streets, like Commercial Street, are safer and thus a lower priority than high-speed rural highways.

The village board is also considering a cooperative agreement with the County. In this scenario, the village would time street improvements with county repairs.

Early estimates showed the village’s contributions could be anywhere between $1.9 million to $2.4 million. The total cost of the cooperative agreement is projected to be $2.4 million to $3.1 million That would not include the cost of water, wastewater or street lighting.

A cooperative agreement would not do anything to move the project up the county’s priority list.

“It’s a big decision,” Althoff said.

To reduce costs the village board is considering a jurisdictional transfer.

Althoff said in this scenario once the county has completed repairs to Commercial Street, it would transfer jurisdiction to the village. Once complete, the village would be responsible for all future maintenance including plowing.

Althoff said as a village street, the village would be eligible to pursue grants to offset the cost of the street and water improvements.

“Through a cooperative agreement there wouldn’t be grants,” he said.

Althoff said Chamberlain indicated there is a high likelihood for grant funding if the village took possession of the section of the highway. The village has until Jan. 1 to announce its decision.

If the village board votes to move forward with the jurisdictional transfer, Chamberlain said the county may be able to make the project a priority.

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Tobias Mann is a reporter with the River Valley Media Group. He can be reached at tobias.mann@lee.net or at 608-791-8216.

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