Construction planned for major E.C. intersection

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Dare to drive through Eau Claire at rush hour, through W. Clairemont Ave. and Stein Blvd. and you'll encounter a rough road.

The intersection of Stein Blvd. and the W. Clairemont Ave. frontage road.

"That's one of our lower-rated street sections, as far as pavement condition – especially from Stein Boulevard, until you start pulling into the mall there,” city engineer Dave Solberg said to WEAU 13 News on Thursday. “Once you get past the mall and further to the west, the pavement improves a little bit, but I think if you drive through that, you'll realize that that stretch of frontage road needs to be improved

Now, Solberg wants to fix it up. He plans to go before the Eau Claire city council next week to lay out plans for fixing a stretch of the W. Clairemont frontage road, starting at Stein and carrying back 1,500 feet to the west.

"We've been working on improving the frontage roads that have fallen in disrepair over the last years and this will be the next segment in that," Solberg said.

Roughly 10,000 vehicles go through this intersection each day and Solberg said he understands how critical a crossroad it is.

"It provides access to hospitals, clinics, retail area. It's a very important intersection,” he said. “We're concentrating our work on the frontage road this year, going from Stein Blvd. to the west and then we're also looking at making some pedestrian improvements as well."

Solberg said he plans to start this summer once UW-Eau Claire is out of session.

“We try to do it because it does have a difference on the amount of backing up and delays that we have in the area,” he said. “It’s just easier for us to get our work done if there's less traffic.”

Solberg said he’s well aware traffic doesn't like to drive through construction zone.

"So we try to weigh 'Do we close it down, have a detour that can still provide access – although it may be a little bit longer get it done in a short time period or do you drag daily construction longer and allow minimal access to those businesses?'” he said. “So, that's the discussion that we're going through right now."

Solberg expects a detour here will be needed at some point. He will present this to the city council on Monday, and then the council is expected to take it to a vote on Tuesday.

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