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La Crosse County Highway Office and Shop Project

The present highway shop was constructed in 1949 and although the building is structurally sound it was fast becoming functionally obsolete in handling modern day equipment. The trucks of the late 1940’s and 1950’s are dwarfed in size compared to the present day trucks and construction equipment that are used to maintain our highway system. It was becoming increasingly difficult to perform efficient maintenance, especially during times of emergencies such as snow storms. Also the employee’s facilities were very outdated. There were no women’s facilities, the lunch room was a common room with the men’s toilets and locker room and we furnished bottled water for the employees to drink as our existing well water was undrinkable.

As the shop project was planned we felt that this was the time to move the Highway Offices to the same location as the shop. This streamlines the entire operations of the department. The entire staff is on site where the work is planned and accomplished, resulting in less travel time between the West Salem Shop to the La Crosse Office for Superintendents and Commissioner to conduct daily business and allows more contact between employees and the administration. Also it provides a central location in La Crosse County for the public to access the Highway Department.

This project was in the planning for several years with the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors approving the hiring of an architect in September 1999 to begin the design of the planned facility. In the planning process we visited other recently constructed county highway facilities as well as construction firms that have maintenance shops to get ideas of design features that work well or don’t work well. The final design approved by the county board consisted of a 3,000 square foot office, an 18,750 square foot maintenance shop and included the remodeling of the existing shop into modern employee facilities, welding and tire repair area and parts room and also the extension of water and sewer utilities from the Village of West Salem to our site.

Ayres & Associates from Eau Claire WI was the engineering firm hired to design the project. Bids for the project were let on September 11, 2001 and Miron Construction Company of Neenah WI was selected as the general contractor. Construction began in November 2001 and was completed in January of 2003.

La Crosse County now has a state of the art highway facility that will serve residents of La Crosse County for many decades.

The La Crosse County Highway Department has been expanded and remodeled. The $2,450,000 addition and remodeling project includes 3,000 square feet of new office; 3,600 square fee of employee locker/training area; 22,000 square feet of new shop; 9,200 square feet of remodeled shop and 1,500 square feet of remodeled vehicle storage area, totaling 39,300 square feet of improvements.

The 22,000 square foot shop addition includes six spacious repair bays, two wash bays and one sign shop.

The remodeling project included replacing the existing shop floor; the existing parts area, toilet/locker and boiler/storage areas and upgrading the heating and ventilation system.

Now that the La Crosse County Highway Department has a new office addition, the highway offices formerly located in the Administrative Center in downtown La Crosse have been relocated to this single site highway department facility.

Site improvements included relocating the fueling station, adding a truck scale and relocating employee parking.

The original facility was built in 1949 and served the County Highway Department for more than 50 years. With the expanded and remodeling facility, the building will be able to continue serving the County into the 21st century.

The La Crosse County Highway Department has four (4) outlying shops at Mindoro, Midway, St. Joseph Ridge, and Shelby to better serve La Crosse County residents.