The city approved the Thomas Street design plan 6-5 at a council meeting Tuesday evening. The project entails widening the road from the Wisconsin River Bridge to 4th Avenue while fixing the infrastructure.
It was a close vote in what's been a very polarizing topic among residents and council members.
"I have to make sure my vote is for the best of the city of Wausau and the residents, that's why I voted no," said council member Becky McElhaney.
"The street project needs to move forward, the infrastructure needs to get fixed," said City Council President Lisa Rasmussen.
The project has drawn continued criticism because of possible contaminants in the soil. Hours before the meeting was held, several dozen people protested the project asking for more testing with the soil. They marched and chanted down the sidewalk in front of Wausau City Hall.
"If you've got a city government that really doesn't value a person's homes, they're not too concerned about their health, what are what are they concerned about," said resident Tom Kilian. "It's exceptionally important, the community doesn't even know how important in the historical context."
City leaders said they plan to work with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources when it comes to disposing the soil that they remove.
"We need to handle these soils. we need to address this," said Lindman. "The DNR is not saying go ahead and do whatever you want, they're saying you need now at this point to start working with the solid waste people."