La Crosse Street Project Named 2024 Engineering Excellence State Finalist by ACEC-WI

Awards, Projects | May 01, 2024


Photo of Benesch's Michael Minsky and WisDOT Program Manager Tom Buccholz with other project team members holding their awards from ACEC-WI.

LA CROSSE, WI—The American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin (ACEC-WI) has named the STH 16 (La Crosse Street) Project one of its Engineering Excellence Award State Finalists for 2024. Blending tried and true safety mitigation measures and design practices with innovative traffic calming and sustainability practices, the Benesch-designed roadway features two 11-foot lanes, a center Two-Way Left Turn Lane (TWLTL) and dedicated bike lanes in each direction. The project is recognized for its collaborative approach to urban redevelopment and its contribution to enhancing community infrastructure in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Stretching from West Avenue to Losey Boulevard, STH 16/La Crosse Street is a vital connector within the city, bridging major north and south roadways and serving a diverse mix of commercial, residential, multi-modal and emergency services users. Working alongside a diverse group of stakeholders, Benesch saw an opportunity to transform the corridor while addressing deteriorating pavement, outdated utilities and safety concerns.

Benesch led the project’s design and facilitated coordination with the consulting firms responsible for traffic signal and utility upgrades, as well as major stakeholders including the local government, community groups and the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.

“Bringing together this diverse group of project partners was crucial in navigating the project’s complexities, including fast-track design schedules and maintaining access to surrounding areas during construction,” said Benesch Project Manager and Design Group Manager Amanda Zacharias, PE, VMA. “We regularly met with stakeholders to understand the needs of the community and communicate the project’s construction timeline, design options and safety improvements—it was really gratifying to have them so involved in the process.”

To address stakeholder concerns about the wider pavement section and pedestrian crossing safety with the new configuration, a curbed median was introduced in areas where left turn lanes were not needed or could be eliminated. The narrower travel way acted as a traffic calming measure, and the median area provided an opportunity to enhance the sustainability of the project. These innovative modifications to the standard TWLTL design addressed stakeholder concerns while still cost-effectively reconstructing the aging pavement and utilities.

Completed and opened to traffic in May of 2023, the STH 16/La Crosse Street project has since made a lasting impression on the public thanks to its effective enhancements to safety, multi-modal mobility and urban life in the area. The project serves as a model of connectivity and sustainability, embodying the effectiveness of developing a collaborative vision for a thriving urban corridor.

The project was honored during the 2024 ACEC-WI Awards Banquet on April 26. Read more about the project here.