Holmen Drive was just paved last year but the northbound lanes north of Halfway Creek need to be redone.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

There’s no question that sections of the northbound lanes of Holmen Drive need to be repaved — this after being reconstructed just last year.

Nancy Proctor


“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.”

Steve O'Malley mug


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.

Ron Chamberlain


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.

10 most crash-prone state highway intersections in La Crosse County


Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

(19) comments


Don't feel bad the town of Shelby hire a company out of Madison to resurface where we live last year and it already needs it again. Whatever they used was reused materials that didn't do anything for the roads. IT still melts in the hot sun and has cracks all over in it.


The county paving crew lacks engineering leadership skills in road paving. In 2016, they did a 3 mile stretch on County U. The grading was inconsistent with many uneven dips due to improper grading/leveling. Instead of implementing proper incremental leveling measurements, they rushed to just lay the asphalt to get it done. Last year, it had to be redone to repair several uneven grades. Not a good use of our County tax dollars. They really lack in road and bridge engineer skills.

Rick Czeczok

But look at all the money Nancy saved them.....

Rick Czeczok

Agree with you on the base work, but a good pavement and screed operator along with someone who knows how to role, can still lay a good mat, they won't be happy with whoever graded it, but they will get it done. But you need training, and years under someone who knows how. This is so bad they really need to stop doing this major work. It's dangerous especially when roads are slippery.


Oh Scotty running the Village of Holmen into the ground with his salary. Looks like he isn't earning it in Holmen either.


it seems obvious that this county highway commissioner is inept and should be replaced. If the conditions are not right for laying asphalt you don't do it until they are fixed. It wasn't that cold in oct and nov not to lay asphalt. It was not applied properly, that is obvious. The county tried to get by on the cheap by not laying enough aphalt or not rolling it out properly.

A Veteran

kingman---Please tell us of you're vast knowledge on paving--we are waiting with hopes of learning from an expert???????


well yes buddy veteran of no known branch. I worked for the county for over 30 years in the highway dept. I know a little about paving, more than you for sure. The county is well equipped to do paving correctly, and most of the men who do it know what they are doing. However management often is trying to cut corners or hurry up a job and so they like to cut corners. Seen it many times. And this is what happened here too. So what do you think of that veteran, this aint my first rodeo.

A Veteran

kingman---So was you one of the ones leaning on the shovel or was you the one telling them to lean on the shovel??????


well you are so funny veteran! You ever think of doing a stand up comic routine! Well don't quit you day job. Everyone knows they invented a shovel to stand up by itself, no leaning required.

A Veteran

kingman---So that stand alone shovel is why you are no longer a government employee,must make you feel real great that an simple device could replace you.As far as my day job I am a farmer,I retired from operating heavy equipment when I was 69 years old.My day job amounts to about 70 hrs a week.


well good for you veteran! Nice to see you were a farmer, probably got lots of government money over the years, but that is not the issue here. Poor use of county tax dollars is and its time they get people actually qualified to over see the job.

Rick Czeczok

Just because they own equipment, does not mean that you know how to use it correctly!!!
That's really obvious.

Robert Kitten

Can someone please tell me why the county is paving?!?! This job should be left to the professionals who do it for a living. I’m not slamming the county workers but Paving is something that should be left to people who do it every day. Mr. Chamberlain broke one county and is doing a fine job of doing it again.


nobody does paving every day. You can't do it in the rain, or if its too cold so its not done in the winter. In this part of the country paving is a seasonal job. The country can do great work if they are allowed to by management. Time for new management in my opinion.

Rick Czeczok

OK big shot you can stop insulting everyone and patting yourself on your back, The picture shows that the screed operator didn't know the first thing he was doing. Rolling it all day long would not take those ripples out. But 10 to 1 the roller opperater tried to vibrate it out, making it only worse. I worked for Mathy and LaCrosse concrete for 20 years. Now try to pull the wool over my eyes, because it won't work, Ive seen this krap to many times. County does not know how to lay mat, period.


I thought this russian troll was gone. But wow you can tell all that from a picture.

Rick Czeczok

Yes you can tell all that from the picture, very easily. How do you think they diagnose problems. I thought you said you knew how to lay a mat. Just another one of your lies. If you worked on these roads for the county and tell your stories like you did, no wonder there roads are so screwed up. Note: leave the paving to the big boys who know what there doing, and save yourself lots of moneyLokk at the center of the road and you will see another thing the county failed to do. You tell me big shot, see what you really know. Use your real name or just go away. What are you afraid of hhmh!!!!
Careful how you answer that one, people know who you are now.


This has been a p*ss poor road for years and they should be ashamed of themselves.

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