Central may be able to ditch roundabout

It looks like the Central High School District will not have to build a roundabout at its new Highway 83 entrance/exit after all.

School officials said at a School Board meeting Tuesday the state appears to be agreeing to the district building a t-intersection without having to upgrade the Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection. In the past, the state had contended the district could only avoid the Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection improvements by building a roundabout at the entrance/exit.

“It was pretty much decided there will be no roundabout, but the DOT is pretty unhappy with us,” said board President Mary Ellen Pearsall

District administrator Scott Pierce, Pearsall and school district attorney Tim Kronquist met with DOT officials late last week. To win the concession on the roundabout, the district has agreed to:

  • Direct eastbound traffic out of the current exit/entrance on Highway 50.
  • Do some additional traffic study.
  • Update student population estimates.

The district has already met with its traffic engineers, Pierce said. And the district is confident that updated student estimates will show a decreasing not increasing population, he added.

Board members seemed relieved, but cautious, that they might be out from under both the expensive roundabout and even more expensive Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection upgrades.

To help safety at the new entrance/exit, the district will seek to lower the speed limit in the area and institute an even lower school zone speed limit, Pierce said. Additional lighting of the intersection will be installed and a deputy will direct traffic at peak times.

If there is future development in the area, the state concedes that a traffic signal might then be warranted at the entrance/exit, Pierce said.

District officials also expressed dissatisfaction Tuesday with their treatment at the hands of DOT representatives.

“They are going to make you grovel …,” Pearsall said. “That’s an editorial statement. I’ve been bullied in my time and I felt bullied.”

Pierce lamented that resident Chris Skrzynecki, who researched the roundabout issue and also met with DOT officials on his own, had better lines of communication with the state than the district.

“It’s so frustrating that we have to get information from you …” Pierce said to Skrzynecki. “We pay their bills like everyone else does and they treat us like dirt.”

For his part, Skrzynecki said he was satisfied that the current situation was largely what he advocated for both to the board and the state.



  1. Chris Gustafson says:

    Research by many other state highway administrations show roundabouts are not always appropriate when located between signalized intersections and that resynchronization of stop lights are often overlooked. Also, vehicles leaving roundabouts often do not yield to pedestrians. In so far as lowering the speed limit, WCHS might want to look into the ongoing battle of a Random Lake School who for years has been struggling unsuccessfully to lower the speed limit in front of their facility from the posted 45 mph due to the high rates of injury/death crashes there. Google-search WisDOT State Highway Engineer Rebecca Yao to learn more about that pedestrian safety issue.

    WCHS may seem to have avoided having to hold another costly voter referendum to garner additional tax dollars BUT who should the voters hold responsible for poorly investigating this matter in the first place as any state highway entrance requires permit approval ??? Time is money and taxpayers ought to be furious. A construction season has irretrievably passed, acreage was acquired of other land owners, and $30,000 dollars or MORE of engineered draft design work is now useless!!!

    One HUGE safety concern still not adequately addressed by WCHS is the prevention pedestrian/bicyclist/vehicular MV4000 reportable accidents. Most reasonable adults know pubescent children make poor judgment calls. Such as the fact more often than not kids simply will NOT walk farther along the proposed yet to be made sidewalks to cross at the Brass Ball signalized intersection where they’ll go to buy cheap fast food to munch while they wait for older siblings to finish playing play sports at Sorensen’s Field or the proposed tennis courts!!! What are our decision makers thinking?!?! Taxpayers ought demand to know right now, who will be legally responsible before this new intersection is in place and BEFORE the first child impulsively dart & dash oncoming motor vehicles mid-block traveling fast enough to cause incapacitating injuries and deaths?!?! WisDOT’s Regional Engineer recently warned WCHS in writing crashes will occur and WisDOT does not want to be blamed. Is that due to the fact numerous readily available Legal Tort Books say no fence can prevent liability for harm or death to those “Tender Years”?!?!

    The Federal Highway Administration needs to quit stalling the long-awaited release of their newest revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and WCHS’s new state highway entrance should be required to install the modern more elderly-noticeable pedestrian/handicap-accessible actuated crosswalk signage with flashing warning beacons simultaneously when their Tee-intersection is constructed. Only then could WCHS claim they tried to save precious lives of those using our community’s newest PUBLIC facilities.

  2. Chris Gustafson says:

    What’s is the value of “Yield Here To Pedestrians” warnings if ABSENT from WCHS’s new non-signalized hwy 83 entrance???

    The following snippet of “1994” Crash Costs is from http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/facts_stats/t75702.cfm………
    TABLE 1
    (1994 Dollars)

    AIS 1 Minor 5,000
    AIS 2 Moderate 40,000
    AIS 3 Serious 150,000
    AIS 4 Severe 490,000
    AIS 5 Critical 1,980,000
    AIS 6 Fatal 2,600,000

    TABLE 2
    (1994 Dollars)

    K Fatal 2,600,000
    A Incapacitating 180,000
    B Evident 36,000
    C Possible 19,000
    PDO Property Damage Only 2,000

    d.These costs should be updated annually using the GDP implicit price deflator. The OST will issue a memorandum each year advising of the current GDP value to be used. The FHWA will inform the field offices of the latest GDP value to be applied to the existing figures.

    These “2008” Estimated Costs of Motor Vehicle Injuries is from http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/injury_and_death_statistics/Pages/EstimatingtheCostsofUnintentionalInjuries.aspx………..

    Average Economic Cost per Death, Injury, or Crash, 2008
    Death $1,300,000
    Nonfatal Disabling Injury $63,500
    Property Damage Crash (including nondisabling injuries) $8,300

    Average Economic Cost by Injury Severity, 2008
    Incapacitating injury (A) $67,200
    Nonincapacitating evident injury (B) $21,800
    Possible injury (C) $12,300

    Average Comprehensive Cost by Injury Severity, 2008
    Death $4,200,000
    Incapacitating injury $214,200
    Nonincapacitating evident injury $54,700
    Possible injury $26,000
    No injury $2,400

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