County highway division chief favors roundabout at Highway C and MB

This slide from a presentation given at the meeting shows the proposed layout of a roundabout at Highways MB and C.

A roundabout is the intersection treatment for Highways C and MB that will have the greatest effect on slowing traffic on Highway C, the county’s Highway Division director told an audience at an informational meeting Thursday night at the Kenosha County Center, Bristol.

Gary Sipsma, who heads up the county Highway Division, said of all the alternatives considered, a single lane, high-speed roundabout was the best in his opinion.

“I truly believe this is the only alternative that will address everything,” Sipsma said. County officials are looking at improving the intersection to improve sight lines, slow or clam traffic and address drainage issues that sometimes flood the roadway.

Sipsma went on to point out that he is not an automatic advocate of plaing roundabouts. He said he opposed a system of roundabouts the state was proposing for installation at the reworked frontage roads along I-94 recently.

“I don’t take it lightly that we go with a roundabout,” Sipsma said. “It just seems to work at this location.”

Roundabouts, says Wikipedia, are “a type of circular junction in which road traffic must travel in one direction around a central island. Signs usually direct traffic entering the circle to slow down and give the right of way to drivers already in the circle.”

Road engineers say roundabouts reduce serious accidents because traffic must slow to enter them and cars do not travel at right angles to each other. But there proposed placement locally has been controversial.

About 25 people — many of them local elected officials or municipal staffers — attended the meeting.

When some audience members asked about increased signage as a strategy to slow traffic, Sipsma responded that he wished it was that easy. To truly calm traffic and slow it down there — which has been a goal of the Highway Division for years — signs would likely be ineffective, Sipsma said. Traffic signals would have little effect because there will be so much more traffic on Highway C that the likely result is a long green interval on Highway C, he added.

“Traffic signals are not a method to reduce crashes,” Sipsma said.

On the other hand, successfully negotiating a roundabout requires a car to slow before entering and get as slow as 23 mph while in the circle.

If the roundabout continues through the approval process, officials would like to begin the work  in the fall and complete it yet later this year.



  1. Nicole Piktel says:

    I think a roundabout is acceptable for these intersections. As long as it doesn’t effect the surrounding area in a negative way. I travel on Highway C very often and have been passed by speeding motorists numerous times. I think any intersection that is improved for safety is a positive thing to have in my village! I have previous experience with roundabouts in the great country of Great Britain. I did not have a problem with manuevering through them- just had to pay more attention. Imagine adding left-lane only to the mix!

  2. Wes says:

    I think this is a great idea for this intersection. Roundabouts are easy to get through once you’ve gone through them once or twice. I think they would be great at other intersections in the area as well such as Hwy C & 45.

  3. Xfactor says:

    What’s the deal?

    1. admin says:

      Xfactor — I tried to respond to your question about moderation of comments via the email address your listed. It came back as undeliverable. That wasn’t the reason I did not approve the original comment, but a valid email address is required for just this kind of situation. If you like, you can email me at and I can explain in further detail. — DH

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