WisDOT moving forward with roundabout at Hwys 83/C

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 is moving forward with a roundabout at the Highway 83 and Highway C intersection in Salem.

A roundabout was selected over a revised traffic signal controlled intersection due to lower cost and greater safety, said Cindy Flower, project manager with WisDOT at a Salem Town Board Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.

“We are moving forward with the preferred alternative, which is the roundabout,” Flower said.

Traffic studies of crashes at the intersection showed a high number of serious crashes, Flower said. A roundabout design should reduce the number of serious crashes.

The roundabout alternative is projected to cost about $2 to 3 million, as opposed to a reworked signal intersection that would cost about $4 to 5 million. The roundabout alternative also would require acquisition of about one third of an acre, as opposed to a reworked traffic signal intersection that would require one acre to be acquired. Much of the additional cost of the improved traffic signal option is due to correcting grades and sight lines that would not be necessary with a roundabout.

The state expects to host a public involvement meeting this summer and then start construction in 2018.

Despite Flower’s statement about the roundabout being chosen, some board members questioned the decision.

Both Supervisors Dan Campion and Ted Kmiec said they felt it would be better to just modify the current traffic signal controlled intersection than rebuild it as a roundabout.

“I am trying to justify spending $2 to 3 million …,” Campion said. “Why not improve what we have there?”

Specifically, Campion said he felt the intersection would be less confusing if stop signs were removed at three of the four right turns (one does not have a stop sign already) and a delay in one green light eliminated.

But other board members seemed ready to accept the roundabout.

“People are getting kind of used to roundabouts,” said Supervisor Michael Culat.

Traffic signals were installed at the Highway 83/C intersection in 2007. Before that, the intersection was a four-way stop.

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).

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14 Comments

  1. Ughh says:

    Get ready for it folks. Its going to be the messiest intersection in western Kenosha county….a “must avoid” area! Wouldn’t it just be easier and cheaper to teach people proper driving skills? Maybe the state shouldn’t just hand out drivers licenses like candy at a parade! Biggest mistake!

  2. YM says:

    Yes, please avoid this area! With all roundabout-hating people avoiding this area, my daily commute will be so much easier. I agree that they should teach people proper driving skills…like navigating a roundabout. Seriously, it’s not that difficult.

  3. Keep it up DAN says:

    Mr. Faber commented that before the lights went in, traffic would back up behind the stop signs during morning and afternoon ‘rush hours’.

    That scenario will return with the roundabout because so many people treat them like right turns on red. They stop or almost stop and look for oncoming traffic before they turn/enter the circle.
    The traffic backups will return to those days of old and not only will there be backups but more rear end collisions from people being bunched up making there own good and bad decisions as they ‘stop and go’ into the roundabout.
    At least with a red or green light you know what the person in front of you is going to do.

    Then add the summers racing traffic at the fairgrounds that includes dozens of trucks with trailers in that intersection not to mention the potential truck traffic for the recently announced business park just to the west on C.

    Lots of good questions tonight Dan. It’s a real shame that even with three, (count them, they had 3) people that came down from the Waukesha DOT office, they couldn’t answer half the questions you had. Talk about being unprepared and not knowing the topic. Seems to me that they,(the DOT) aren’t asking for our input, but just making it look like that to appease us into what they are going to shove down our throats no matter what we say.

  4. You've got to be kidding. says:

    Re: Keep it up Dan.
    I wholeheartedly agree on the lack of knowledge people display when entering a roundabout. At least half of the drivers I have witnessed come to a complete stop at these. Add copious amounts of semi truck traffic flowing through this area, add the summer onslaught of Illinois traffic for various festivals and such, this intersection is going to be a vicious nightmare to all of us who live in this community. This idea is the poster child of all bad ideas. I shall petition against this thru Salem and any other means possible within the state. Even with that said, they will do exactly that as you stated….whatever they want. We do not matter.

  5. YES to the roundabout at 83 and C! says:

    Studies show roundabouts are way SAFER than traditional intersections with traffic control lights.

    This is especially true when it comes to severe injury and fatal crashes. That alone should be the selling point to the Town of Salem officials, county officials and state officials. People blow through the yellow and red lights there constantly. We have far too few deputies to sit and watch for these violators.

    Statically people are way more likely to be in a bad crash at an intersection with traffic lights. The two biggest culprits are drivers making left turns in front of oncoming traffic and people blowing through yellow & red lights.

    And if you need more two more reasons to support a roundabouts they are CHEAPER to maintain and vastly CHEAPER to build.

    A fourth is the proposed industrial park along C just west of 83. There will be increased heavy trucks and semi-trucks zinging like heck through that intersection. Most already do to avoid catching red light.

    And lastly, if designed correctly roundabouts can take up less space than a traditional intersection. That potentially means no one’s business has to get torn down.

    As far as people being concerned about traffic back up at roundabouts – they don’t have to. Anyone that has experienced or remembers the long delays on at C and H, along HWY 165 in Pleasant Prairie, HWY 45 and C in Racine, or on Hunt Club Road in IL BEFORE roundabouts were installed understands purgatory.
    I see far more people blowing red lights at Mach 55 than I have ever seen coming to a complete and utter stop at a roundabout. First timers figure it out fast. Watch a WI DOT or youtube video.

    Driving requires the ability to adapt to change quickly. If people can’t, or are too scared of driving, please encourage them to stay off the roads and buy a bus pass.

  6. To Kidding says:

    From “Keep it up Dan.”

    Please contact Dan Campion thru his e mail at the town hall with your info and idea on the petition.

    I will also contact him and lets see if we can get together and stop this ‘steamrolling’ that is running over us before it gets any further down the road.

    Roundabout opponents, stay tuned, we are going to need all the help we can get.

  7. Ughh says:

    @YM- Just wait until that business park is built and you have semi trucks who won’t be able to avoid that area. In fact, they may not even want to build business in that park because of the difficulty in trucks navigating that intersection. Has the state even seen the amount of traffic at that intersection in summer? All you need is a turn signal light and a lane. Simple really. But the state loves wasting OUR money on things that don’t work. Its called “ego”. Enjoy your commute through that new, wonderful intersection!

  8. Bad idea. Better idea hwy AF and C says:

    A round about would be better suited at hwy AF(260th ave) and Hwy c. It’s hard to see around bend, school is near by and people drive to fast entering trevor. That would be much better suited for a roundabout then 83

  9. YES to the roundabout at 83 and C! says:

    In addition to 83 and C a roundabout would also be great in at C and JF in Trevor. That T intersection is a nightmare at certain times of day/night. And it would help keep the speed down more towards 35 in that area. Big rigs and trucks have no difficulty navigating roundabouts. Truck drivers do not have to come to a hard stop and then (slowly) accelerate away burning fuel and time. How often have you been stuck behind a loaded semi-truck that is pulling away from a light on the highway? They take forever to get to speed. They slow everyone behind them down. Very annoying but that is what happens when big rigs have to start out from 0 mph. In addition roundabouts force trucks to 15-20 mph +/- to navigate them – safer than barreling through an intersection at 45 -60 mph.

  10. Dan Campion says:

    You can reach me at dcampion@townofsalem.
    Thanks in advance.

  11. Fred In IT says:

    I live by there, and drive through that intersection several times a day. Since the lights went up I haven’t seen a single accident there (except in really bad weather). Before the lights – yea, saw them quite often as kids aren’t taught how to navigate a 4-way stop w/ turn lanes.

    I wonder where they are getting their accident statistics. I don’t doubt that the accidents occured. But, when did they occur? 2AM or 2PM? Makes a big difference if you need a change in the traffic pattern (lights, roundabout, etc.) or Officer Friendly to sit in the golf course parking lot to hand out tickets and generate some Co./St. revenue.

    And, the way WIS-DOT does construction – about as fast as molassas in January and taking out the entire road (unlike IL which have figured out how to get folks to drive on the shoulder) – that entire intersection will be taken out for 6-8 months. There is no other east-west, nor north-south corridor through that area for MILES. To the west, have to go back onto side streets to get to SA, south, again, side streets until state-line rd, east – RT 45, north – RT 50.

    Typical politicians… do, but don’t think.

  12. YM says:

    @Ughh: I’ve driven the roundabout at Hwys 45 & 20 countless times and watched semis navigate it with no problem. As for the back up of traffic, it’s already happening during the busy times of day, especially eastbound after cars get backed up from a train in Trevor. I’ve sat through this light several times before being able to get through. As for people learning how to drive, new youngsters learning how to drive are learning how to navigate roundabouts. This leaves all of the “experienced” drivers who don’t know what they’re doing. As I mentioned above, I encourage all roundabout haters (aka, the ones who don’t know how to navigate one) to find an alternate route. I will experience smooth sailing through a streamlined roundabout and I will not fear it. Darwin wrote a great book, On the Origin of Species. Adapt.

  13. YES to the roundabout at 83 and C! says:

    @ Fred in IT: You wrote “…kids aren’t taught how to navigate a 4-way stop w/ turn lanes” I really doubt that the private and high school driver’s education teachers are not teaching kids how to properly navigate an intersections like 83 and C – it’s design is quite common.

    I to live nearby and have seen plenty of, and have had close calls, at 83 and C. From what I have witnessed over the years is that drivers intentionally blow the lights and come flying through the intersection doing 55 – 60 mph.

    The WI DOT’s accident / crash statistics are based on actual data. DOT collects information from several sources: detailed crash reports taken by law enforcement, traffic flow studies, topographic maps, and access to detailed information on traffic tickets. All that gives trained professionals and road engineers at WI DOT a good picture of what is happening.

    Yes it would be great if the State Patrol, KSD of ToS did more traffic enforcement in Salem – especially on the highways. But the sad reality is the State Patrol and KSD have been vastly understaffed for years.

    I do agree sometimes these construction projects take too long. And there are plenty of other routes locals can take. The Illinois drivers who use C will have to use their own roads when this starts.

  14. I still don't get it says:

    I hear/see lots of complaining about roundabouts, but no real reasons why people think they don’t work.

    If anything, you should be more upset with the fact that the DOT has to redo an unsafe intersection 7 years after they “fixed” it in the first place. Now that’s a waste of $$.

    Intersections that I’ve driven through with those work just fine if not much better (smoother flow of traffic) than they did in the past: 45 & 20, Everett & Riverwoods and both on Hunt Club in Lake County, C&MB. Not sure I understand why they did one at C & H in Pleasant Prairie, but it works fine.

    If you don’t like them, don’t drive through them – or just learn how to deal with it.

    All the bellyaching about roundabouts sounds more like petty whining/complaining than actually coming up with a better, safe and inexpensive alternative.

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