Vernon County business owners prepare for Hwy. 35 construction closure

March 25, 2022 7:11 PM Posted: March 25, 2022 7:11 PM Updated: March 25, 2022…

VERNON COUNTY, Wis. (WKBT) — A nearly 12-mile stretch of Hwy. 35 — from Hwy. 82 in De Soto to Hwy. 56 in Genoa — will be closed for construction beginning April 4 through August.

The project will repair bridges, replace culvert pipes, restore pavement and asphalt and add new guard rails and road signs. The road will be closed to through traffic but available for local traffic.

“We’re aware from residents and Hwy. 35 users that this section of roadway needs some improvements,” said Bryton Meyer, a project engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Great River Roadhouse in De Soto is right along that section of road. It has been at its spot on Hwy. 35 for 25 years, and restaurant owner Josh Petzel is no stranger to a challenge. Petzel took over the business in July 2020, while two construction projects cut the restaurant off from traffic.

“We were isolated basically from the north and from the west,” Petzel said.

The roadhouse made it through that patch.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a very strong customer base. We’re appreciative and thankful for that,” Petzel said.

Petzel is optimistic about the upcoming construction challenge.

“We feel pretty good that we can get through this project on a positive note, and then also have some good infrastructure put in place afterwards,” Petzel said. “The road does need to get done. The road is in tough shape, I drive it every day. You can definitely see and feel the issues that need to be addressed.”

Meyer said there will be a detour for commuters through Hwys. 82, 27 and 56.

“Doing these culvert pipe replacements, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain through traffic when these are done,” Meyer said.

Some construction begins March 28. You can find more information about the project on the WisDOT website.

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