WisDOT rolls out plans for Highways 83 & C intersection improvement

The WisDOT Highways 83 & C roundabout plan (click for larger view)

The WisDOT Highways 83 & C roundabout plan (click for larger view)

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation unveiled alternatives for improving safety at the Highways 83 and C intersection at a public open house meeting Thursday at Salem Town Hall.

Two alternatives were presented:

  • Construction of a roundabout.
  • Retaining traffic signals, but changing the configuration of the intersection.

DOT officials say the intersection has a high number of crashes, which is prompting changes to make it safer.

According to Greg Gard, the project’s designer:

  • The roundabout option would cost about $2-3 million to construct. It would require the acquisition of about one-third of an acre of additional right of way and require no relocation of businesses or homes. The closure needed is being called short-term. It would include an off-road sidepath for pedestrians and bikes as well as on road bike lanes. A retaining wall of about 2 to 3 feet would be need in one location.
  • The new signal option would cost about $4-5 million to construct. Lowering the intersection to improve site lines related to an existing hill would be done. About an acre of right of way would need to be acquired. Sidepaths and bike lanes would be included. New monopod style traffic signal poles would be used. Left turn lanes would be separated in an effort to improve safety. Three homes might need to be relocated. Retaining walls as high as 8-feet on two parts of the intersection would be needed.

Gard also said the roundabout option would see significantly fewer crashes than a signal because of reduced speed and the elimination of sharp angles of approach of vehicles.

“It (a roundabout) reduces speed,” Gard said ” and it does lessen the severity (of crashes).”

The DOT was gathering public comment at the meeting. They expect to pick a preferred alternative for the intersection next year and begin construction in 2018 (Note: Year corrected from earlier version. — DH).

At some point, Salem Town Chairman Diann Tesar said she expects the Town Board to discuss the alternatives and come up with an official town position on what option the state should pursue.

“I would like (the board) to make a recommendation,” Tesar said.

Improvements to the Highway 83/50/75 intersection in Paddock Lake also were unveiled at the meeting. Gard said all of those improvements related to improving pedestrian access, especially for those with disabilities. They were grouped with the Highway 83 and Highway C improvements as a matter of convenience and efficiency.

The WisDOT Highway 83 & C new signal plan (Click for larger view).

The WisDOT Highway 83 & C new signal plan (Click for larger view).

A WisDOT graphic showing types and severity of crashes at Highways 83 & C (click for larger view).

A WisDOT graphic showing types and severity of crashes at Highways 83 & C (click for larger view).



  1. Ughh says:

    I see the WI DOT is up to there fear mongering. I see they’re also acting like a group of 5 year olds not getting their way. First of all, what 3 houses at C & 83 are you going to have to move? Why 8′ retaining walls? See, the way it appears to me is that the state is so high and mighty thinking roundabouts are so awesome that if people don’t want them, then they’re going to start doing stupid things unless you just accept what the state says. A round about at that intersection is going to increase travel times immensely! You’re going to find traffic racing through neighborhoods just to avoid the backups caused by minor accidents within the roundabout.
    Bad idea. Don’t let the state bully you Salem!! Don’t let them!

    1. @ughh — The three properties that might need to be re-located are indicated by yellow dots on the signal alternative map with this post(click the image for a larger view). The retaining walls would be higher with the signal alternative because of the need to cut down the hill there for improved visibility, the designer said.

  2. Ughh says:

    Maybe it would be more feasible to lower the speed limit and train people how to actually look for oncoming traffic. It would be cheaper too! I just feel like they’re forcing these roundabouts down our throat, then throwing a hissy fit because the majority of people really don’t like them. I guess I’m just old school though. I was properly trained to drive.

  3. Salem Resident says:

    Why is the DOT so worried about the intersection at Highway C and Highway 83? The intersection at Highway 83 and Highway JF is worse. They need to refocus their attention to that intersection vs one that has lower crashes.

  4. Sam says:

    A roundabout would be a fine idea for that intersection. People try to plow through that intersection at 55+ mph. A roundabout would slow them down and eliminate severe to fatal crashes.

  5. Upset says:

    Glad to see that there’s a meeting on this and my house is in the diagram, but my wife nor I got anything regarding the meeting about it.

    I agree the roundabout a steamroll for Federal construction $ as well, this is a joke.

  6. @ughh says:

    People that complain about roundabouts don’t know how to use them. It will not increase drive or create backups. It is non stop and only yielding. It will also decrease the amount of semi-truck traffic using the route as a bypass to the scales on truck routes. Making it actually a much safer intersection and safer for Salem grade school.

  7. ScottRAB says:

    Ughh, where did you get your civil engineer degree – just curious.

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA, http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem
    The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://tinyurl.com/6v44a3x).

  8. Better W/Lights says:

    From What I can see, there have been 4 accidents in the last 3 years, how many were weather related?
    Roundabout SAFER, REALLY, with the traffic load at the intersection it would be a free for all!
    Put the turn lights in, the lanes exist, add a flashing light for any sight problems,
    ROUNDABOUTS are terrible except for lightly traveled roads, not the panacea that they keep saying it is!
    Short time closed?
    They closed C and MB for what 6 or 8 months? Look at the level of traffic on that section, not to mention the increase from the north on school release times, rush hours, after a train coming in from the west, on and on.
    Lights make WAY more SENSE, which is probably why they will ignore us and do it anyway per usual!

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