Project is underway on North Marquette Road

The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce has purchased six signs—white signs with black letters and red arrows—that are placed strategically around the Marquette Road construction as a means of navigating travelers to local businesses. This sign is located at the corner of Blackhawk Avenue and Main Street and is intended to direct southbound traffic to Iowa Street, where they can head east to access Marquette Road businesses. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Local business owners and concerned citizens attended a pre-construction meeting Wednesday, April 30, with officials from the city, WisDOT and contractor H. James and Sons. The meeting served as a way of providing the most up-to-date information about the coming weeks of construction on Marquette Road. Those in attendance were also able to ask any last minute questions they had. (Aaron Kramer photo)

By Correne Martin

After years of preparing, the city of Prairie du Chien begins its makeover to the north end of Marquette Road today (May 5).

The $14.2 million project (including land acquisition) consists of roundabouts at Blackhawk Avenue, Wisconsin Street and Iowa Street, street improvements from Mooney Street to Washington Street, utility repairs and streetscape updates. The city of Prairie du Chien’s cost is roughly $1.2 million of the project, while the remainder—about $13 million—is covered by state and federal funds.

According to Jay Adams, Wisconsin DOT project leader, in the first two weeks, the public will see the establishment of the detour route, the removal of concrete pavement, sanitary sewer (Taylor Street), water main (Webster Street and Marquette Road), storm sewer (between Mooney and Taylor) and boring at Mooney. Phases one and two have been combined and are expected to be complete around early August.

During phase one, northbound traffic will be detoured along the U.S. Highway 18 North bypass and Iowa Street back to Marquette Road. Southbound traffic will be detoured along Wisconsin Street and the Highway 18 South bypass back to Marquette Road. Temporary traffic signals will be installed at the Iowa Street/Main Street intersection.

For phase two, northbound traffic will be detoured along the Highway 18 North bypass, Main Street/County K, and east along Cliffwood Drive, back to State Highway 35. Southbound traffic will be detoured to the west along Cliffwood, south at County K/Main Street, and the Highway 18 South bypass, back to Highway 35. The Blackhawk Avenue and Marquette Road intersection will be accessible from the west, north and east. The south leg of the intersection will be closed. Temporary traffic signals will be installed at three intersections along the detour route: Iowa Street/Main Street, Wisconsin Street/Main Street and Blackhawk Avenue/Main Street.

Access to businesses and homes will be provided through alleys, side roads and temporary access roads. Temporary sidewalks will also be provided for pedestrian traffic if needed.
Adams said once the first two phases are complete, most of Marquette Road, except for the Blackhawk/Marquette intersection area, will be open to local business traffic only, but not to Highway 35/27 through traffic.

Phases three and four will include from the Blackhawk Avenue intersection north to Washington Street. These phases are hoped to be wrapped up by the middle of November.

Throughout the project, three construction crews anticipate working six days per week, 12 hours per day, according to Randy Henkel, of H. James and Sons, the contractor responsible for the project.

“During the whole thing, local traffic will be able to access businesses off of Crawford Street,” City Administrator Aaron Kramer said. “We also anticipate North Ohio Street will receive a lot of extra traffic due to this project as well.”

Kramer noted that both North Ohio Street and Main Street will be reconstructed in 2015 with borrowed funds.

The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce has purchased six large signs (white signs with black letters and red arrows) that will be strategically placed around the construction, indicating how drivers can access businesses. These signs will be focused on Chamber member businesses.

“I want our members to know the Chamber is there for them throughout this project and beyond,” Chamber CEO and Director Bob Moses said. “I know it’s going to be a tough year, but our goal is to do whatever we can to make sure we can get people to our businesses.”

Anyone who wishes to pursue signage on their own is asked to talk to Kramer first so that they can be placed correctly. Kramer said any signs put in the right-of-way or construction area will be pulled.
According to Adams and Terry Meyer, co-manager of public works in Prairie du Chien, one key aspect of the utility portion of the project will be the installation of more inlets for storm water drainage. This is being done to help correct the issue of pooling water in certain intersections.

The city and local media outlets will provide many sources of information for the public during the project. To view the progress and get updates on any news of the construction process, visit the city’s Marquette Road Construction website,, the city’s Facebook page, the Courier Press newspaper, the Courier Press’ Facebook page and WQPC Radio.

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