Marquette Road reconstruction, from Mooney to La Pointe, set for 2017

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By Correne Martin

Engineers presented the proposed 2017 Marquette Road project to a room of about 25 local citizens, mostly business owners, on Tuesday night at Prairie du Chien City Hall. The reconstruction will occur between La Pointe and Mooney Streets and consist of turning the existing four-lane undivided highway into a modified three-lane roadway with a two-way, left-turn lane and widened shoulders.

The project is provisionally scheduled to begin around April 2017 and last most of the construction season, likely through October. Plans are not yet finalized, and won’t be until August of 2016. Real estate acquisitions, which include four minor pieces of right-of-way, are the next phase for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. According to Heidi Schwarz, project engineer from Knight Engineers and Architects, of La Crosse, no businesses will close as a result of the acquisitions, though some signs may be moved.

Tuesday night’s public involvement meeting was a chance for community members and business owners to ask questions and make comments on the plans. Those in attendance learned that the project will include replacement of sidewalk and the multi-use trail/bike path, which is anticipated to increase in size from six feet to 10 feet. Also, storm sewer, sanitary sewer and water main will be redone throughout the length of the project.

The project will be broken into three stages, based on storm sewer construction. It is not known which section will be done first, but the stages will include: 1) La Pointe to 10th Street, 2) 10th Street to Wells Street, and 3) Wells Street to Mooney Street. Each stage is estimated to take two and a half months or less.

Parrish Street, which is a vital east/west connector within the city, will remain open for the majority of the project, Schwarz said. Potential construction by the railroad may cause the Parrish/Marquette intersection to be closed temporarily however.

“This project will hopefully be less invasive (than the 2014 Marquette Road project),” Schwarz noted. “Staging will be utilized to limit the amount of Marquette Road that can be closed at a time.”
Marquette Road will be open to local traffic during construction. Through-traffic will be detoured, most likely utilizing the Highway 18 Bypass and Iowa and Wisconsin Streets. The detour is “fairly developed,” but not yet set in stone, Schwarz added.

City Administrator Aaron Kramer said the city will hold public meetings regarding community sensitive design (CSD) enhancements to beautify the newly-reconstructed roadway. The city has earmarked $250,000 for CSD plans. Suggestions thus far have included colored concrete in front of businesses (to eliminate mowing needs), decorative and LED lighting, restoration of the tree line that once adorned the west side of Marquette Road, and connection of the bike trail from the bypass to the Safe Routes to School path on Campion Boulevard.

“These are not approved yet but will be part of public meeting discussions,” Kramer stated. “I encourage people to come and talk to me, email me and give me their input on what they’d like to see included in the enhancements.

As the 2017 project approaches, another public information meeting will be held in Prairie du Chien in early 2016. At that time, more specific staging information will be available to the public.

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