Highway 35 rehabilitation projects planned

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The above graphic depicts the north and south rehabilitation projects planned for Highway 35 along with the possible detour routes. (Wisconsin DOT graphic)


By Ted Pennekamp


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Southwest Region held a public meeting in De Soto Tuesday night to discuss proposed improvements to Highway 35 in Crawford and Vernon counties.

There are two projects planned along Highway 35 between County N and Highway 56. The southern project will consist of 9.93 miles of resurfacing. The northern project will be for 11.83 miles of resurfacing.

Construction on both projects are scheduled for 2022. Along with resurfacing, the projects will include the replacement of beam guards, repairs to or replacement of culverts and bridge repairs. 

DOT Project Manager Craig Fisher said the resurfacing will involve the taking off of four inches of road surface and then replacing four inches to make for a much smoother ride for motorists.

“The blacktop just wears down after so many years,” said Fisher. “These projects will extend the useful life for 10 to 15 years.”

Fisher said there will also be work done outside and beneath the shoulder nearest the railroad tracks in order to shore up several locations that have been made unstable due to flash flooding and general erosion. He said deteriorating culvert pipes under the shoulder will also be replaced. 

Repair will be done on one box culvert and four bridges in the south project. The south project will be on Highway 35 from County N to County E in the townships of Eastman and Seneca in Crawford County.

On the north project, one wayside will be abandoned. Several waysides will be overlayed. Two box culverts will be replaced and two bridges will be repaired on the north project. The north project will be on Highway 35 from Old Highway 35 to Highway 56 in the townships of Freeman, Wheatland and Genoa in Crawford and Vernon counties.

Fisher said the projects  are expected to take the full construction season and will probably run from April until October or November, depending upon weather. As the projects get underway, the timeline will become more refined.

The projects will involve one lane of traffic with flagging. There will also be detour routes. 

“We would like to keep the through traffic for motorists with a local interest. The others should take the detour routes,” he said. If a motorist is going from Prairie du Chien to La Crosse, for example, they should take the detour routes. If they live in the construction zone or if they are going to a business in the construction zone, they are considered through traffic with a local interest.

The general cost estimates for the projects are $8.6 million for the south project and $10.5 million for the north project. Fisher noted, however, that the cost estimates are preliminary and are subject to change as the projects move forward.

A small amount of right of way will be required for these projects. Sliver areas will be needed near some of the grading areas to the slopes to the adjacent lands. The DOT anticipates beginning real estate acquisition as early as the summer of 2020.

It is also anticipated that final plans for both projects will be completed in 2021. The bid letting will be in December of 2021.

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