There’s no question that sections of the northbound lanes of Holmen Drive need to be repaved — this after being reconstructed just last year.
“It’s like a washboard,” Holmen Village President Nancy Proctor said. “It’s not smooth.”
La Crosse County Administrator Steve O’Malley agreed action is needed. “It’s got to be better than this,” he said. “It’s not satisfactory, and we will come up with a solution. … We want to get it done right.”
The question is how much, if any, Holmen will kick in to repave the road, which originally was paved by the county Highway Department.
Holmen Drive, which is the village’s main drag, was rebuilt last year in a cooperative $6.5 million project between the county and the village as a precursor to the county turning over jurisdiction over Holmen Drive to the village.
Before the jurisdictional transfer, the county was responsible for maintenance of Holmen Drive, which also was known as Hwy. HD. As an incentive for the village to take over, the county joined forces with the village to get it rebuilt, taking on responsibility for about $2 million of the project.
Work on Holmen Drive went well into November, far past the anticipated completion of the project. In fact, some work, mainly medians and landscaping, still remains to be done.
“This project has had more than its share of difficulties,” county Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain wrote in a recent memo to the county’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
Work fell behind schedule for a variety of reasons, such as delays relating to unanticipated sewer line upgrades and concrete found under asphalt that wasn’t expected and had to be removed.
“As a result of these project delays out of any control by the county, the project was completed very late in the construction season, leading to several significant issues that have negatively affected the project outcomes,” Chamberlain wrote. The county expressed concerns to the village about laying asphalt in cold weather, he added, but the village directed the county to proceed with paving.
In some sections of the northbound lanes, the top two-inch layer of asphalt has imperfections that Chamberlain asserts are the result of three primary causes: cold temperatures at the time of paving; contamination atop the lower layer of asphalt from inadequate cleanup before paving; and improper rolling after the asphalt was placed.
The question Holmen and county officials have to sort out is whether the village should take part of the responsibility for fixing the problem because village-related issues delayed the project to the point where county crews were contending with less than ideal conditions for paving and inadequate time to get it done properly.
Holmen Village Administrator Scott Heinig said it’s still uncertain what will need to be done to fix the road, but the most likely fix would be to scrape up the top two inches of asphalt, mill it and lay that asphalt back down, which he predicted could be done in no more than two weeks.
The problem areas are in the northbound lanes between Halfway Creek and McHugh Drive, but only a portion of that section is faulty. The problem is, Heinig said, if only a portion of the pavement is replaced, there will be seams that will be vulnerable to shifting and future problems, so he’d like to see the whole stretch repaved.
“Obviously, we want the whole road to be intact as if it is freshly paved,” he said.