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The city of La Crosse is working on options for La Crosse Street after early estimates to complete reconstruct the 1-mile stretch of road came in at $22 million.

Mayor Tim Kabat


La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat met Monday with representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to learn more about what the state agency plans for the road, which acts as a connecting highway — a local road that carries state highway traffic — for Hwy. 16.

“We shared with them our needs and the issues that we’re seeing,” Kabat said Monday, after the meeting, which he described as “productive.”

WisDOT has plans to install an asphalt overlay in 2025, similar to the one installed on Lang Drive in 2016, which would be significantly cheaper than a reconstruction, new utilities and pavement.

“Twenty-two million is reconstruction of everything. The overlay is obviously much less expensive, because you’re keeping the concrete base,” Kabat said.

The mayor in February announced plans to fix the street, saying the road won’t last another seven years without some intervention.

“We’re going to be modifying our approach somewhat,” in response to the price tag, Kabat said.

The city plans to break up the project into three different segments, the first of which would run from about Hillview Avenue to Losey Boulevard, not including the intersection.

“Our plan is still go ahead with the first stretch in 2019,” Kabat said.

According to early estimates, which include a complete reconstruction, all new utilities and concrete paving, that section would cost about $10 million.

That first stretch would allow the city to address its utility needs, said city utilities manager Bernard Lenz.

“We’ve been waiting for the state to do their work, so we don’t need to dig up the road,” he said. However, “The maintenance cost to wait is getting to the point where we can’t wait too much longer.”

The city has been patching manholes, catch basins and sections of pipe as needed; however, the water line is almost 100 years old, Lenz said.

“The older it gets, the more expensive it is to maintain,” he said.

The city will get borings of the pavement to find concrete evidence on how old the base is and whether it will hold up for another 12 years after the overlay is put over it.

“The DOT is asking us to do some sampling of the base. Our indication is that it’s the original road from the 1920s,” Kabat said.

WisDOT installed an overlay on the road in the 1980s.

The mayor hopes WisDOT can find a way to move up plans for an overlay if it turns out the base of the road will hold up. Messages left Monday with WisDOT were not immediately returned.


City government reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering local government and city issues for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218.

(9) comments


A lot of you are complaining that the city isn't fixing its streets, but at the same time the article is about fixing streets.


All points again to city priorities. Necessary vs nice vs delay is no problem. Look at all of the items on the table. LaCrosse Center expansion, tennis courts/ building at Forest Hills, Municipal Harbor, Eco building/ Myrick Park and Trane Park vision to list a few. Where is the vision/ plan for our failing streets along with infrastructue ( ie water, sewer and adequate drainage ) Who is in charge and monitoring priority decisions? Necessary improvement is important for the city but there must be a balance with any plan.


If the morons that attempt to run this town would stop wasting all the money on all the hair brain pet projects for the wantabees that think we need something because another town has it we need it also. If the bars want ball diamonds let them pay for what it costs to build and maintain them and charge all out of towners 2 or 3 times the cost!!! We need to cut all nonessential spending including parks, pools, the center, extra school activities, bike lanes, golf courses, boat docks and landings, traffic circles, any new buildings, and all other nonessential spending until the inter structure is repaired and payed for!!! It looks like Mr. Bankruptcy is trying to do the same to the city that he did to himself!! Most people would not buy a new big screen TV with cable if your house was falling apart, well this city is falling apart, we don’t need nonessential thing until we fix the city!!!!!


read an extremely funny article about someone or a number of fed up citizens doing that. won't get into details but it motivated the city to act.


how about anyone that is fed up with the citys neglect of the road and the vandalism it does to our cars do the same. get out there and spray paint your frustration and anger on the road. ;-)


La Crosse St has needed fixing for quite a long time now & Copeland by La Crosse St. What the heck "other" options can there be? Tar & rock will just come right back up! La Crosse needs to invest in our city!!!


Let's take the Park Dept money and use it for this project.


Maybe digging up everything from Losey to Third, putting in bike lanes, curbside coffee decks, a bridge over West Ave COULD cost $500 million.

Now THATS Tribune reporting.


“Twenty-two million is reconstruction of everything. The overlay is obviously much less expensive, because you’re keeping the concrete base,” Kabat said.

So what is the cost of the overlay? Is there a reporter in the house?

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