Salem not going to take a position on Highways 83 & C intersection

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

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

The Salem Town Board is not going to take a formal position on what improvement plan it favors for the Highways 83 and C intersection, at least for now.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning for improvements at the intersection. WisDOT representatives unveiled a roundabout option and a improved signal option at a Oct. 23 meeting. The intersection currently has traffic signals.

According to WisDOT project designer Greg Gard:

  • 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.

Town Board members (with Supervisor Mike Culat absent sue to illness) discussed the intersection at a Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday. Town administrator Patrick Casey told the board that if they wanted to voice a group opinion on the project, they should probably do so soon, as the project is set for construction in 2018.

“They (WisDOT) will listen somewhat to you, but it all comes down to dollars and sense,” Casey said. “I think this is something that will be built in 2018 … whatever it is.”

But at the conclusion of the discussion, with no consensus apparent, Chairman Diann Tesar said she would not be placing the matter on a future meeting agenda for further discussion at this point.

On Wednesday, Supervisor Dan Campion seemed to have the strongest opinion and he was against the roundabout option.

“I have a lot of questions because I think they are skewing the data to push the cheaper roundabouts,” Campion said. He added that some of the most severe crashes in the data presented by WisDOT were during bad weather months.

“I think the answer is not putting in a roundabout but sorting out the illogical” signage/signalling, Campion said.

All the other board members were asked by email about their opinion on the intersection. Here are the replies we received:

Supervisor Ted Kmiec said he would not express an opinion until he further reviewed the material for WisDOT.

Supervisor Dennis Faber said “My primary concern other than safety is that the intersection accommodate possibly large volume semi trucks traffic because the land just to the west of the intersection along the north side of HWY C and next to our Trevor, Highway, Fire, Rescue building and water tower is planned for industrial development which no doubt, would rely on those vehicles.”

Supervisor Culat said “I agree that something needs to be done at that intersection. I am not an engineer, so I cannot say if there is a better alternative than the two that were presented. I did attend the informational meeting that was held at the Town Hall, and I did speak with the engineer. I don’t know at this point if we as a Town have much say-so in the final plan. I know I have talked to numerous people about this. Most people I talk to do not favor a round-a-bout. I know the alternative plan is about twice as much. Just not sure at this point what our alternatives are.”

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

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

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