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Cascade project breaks new ground

April 13, 2012

The Cascade Avenue project is underway and it will bring a lot of changes to the street, both functionally and aesthetically.

One of the main benefits of the project is to replace failed and outdated infrastructure according to River Falls Director of Public Works and City Engineer Reid Wronski. Numerous above and below ground issues will be addressed in the project. These issues include upgrading the roadway surface, replacing below city-standard 4” water mains with 12” water mains, replacing obsolete sewer pipes with PVS pipes, and replacing the entire street lighting system. The lighting system is currently broken and has only a temporary fix.

A part of the project involves installing two roundabouts on Cascade Avenue that will serve a number of purposes.

“They were chosen because they result in less injury accidents, less delay for cars, it slows down the traffic. They will be heavily monumented with university stuff, it lets lets the driver know you’re at the university,” the city engineer said.

Any concerns that people have about how to drive on roundabouts should dissipate quickly.

The roundabout at the intersection of South Wasson Lane, Cemetery Road, and 950th Street has a lower accident rate over the past five years than that same intersection had the five years before the roundabout was installed, Wronksi said.

In addition to all of the functional upgrades, there will be a lot of landscaping work done to improve the appearance of the road.

“The landscaping is intensive. There is a significant amount going in; median trees, boulevard trees on the outside of the roadway, hundreds if not thousands of plants are going in to the median to create a landscape wall,” Wronski said.

Wronski said this landscape wall will discourage pedestrians from crossing the road anywhere they please and force them into the crosswalks. The landscape wall was the option chosen in lieu of a hard structure like a wall or a fence.

According to information available on UW-River Falls’ web page on the project, “the university felt that a heavily landscaped median fit better with the campus’s existing setting as compared to a black, wrought iron fence.”

Students can expect the construction to remain similar to what has been done to this point.

Until the end of the school year, construction will involve the continuing removal of the pavement all the way through 6th Street and water main installation from Spruce Street to 6th Street said Wronksi.

Wronski said that safety is very important and will need the full attention of both construction workers and citizens around the construction area.

“Safety is everybody’s game and we don’t want anything bad to happen on this project. We need everybody to be aware,” Wronski said.

The project is affecting students, especially commuter students like UWRF senior Jess Harrington. She commutes from Hudson and said she rarely parks on Cascade Avenue now.

“Only when there’s a spot, which is never. I park further away from campus because everyone parks on the street that I usually park on,” Harrington said.

The road has to be open by late October but they are shooting to have it done by early September Wronski said. Whether or not it gets done by September is largely dependent on the weather.

Comments

Lance on 23 Apr 2012: You're welcome Trevor, they are not bad unless you're driving then you have to wait, if there were a tunnel or bridge it could be much safer for the whole community. I believe that these roundabouts will just make Cascade Avenue such a pain that people will find alternate routes, thus making it safer as well. Time will tell I guess.

Trevor on 20 Apr 2012: Thanks for reading my article, Lance. I don't think the limited crosswalks have been bad so far.

Lance on 19 Apr 2012: I think UWRF should have just put a tunnel or bridge in for the pedestrians to cross. This has been done at Winona State University to access their athletic fields across the railroad tracks.