Salem Town Board upholds roundabout opposition

town-of-salem-signThe Salem Town Board has  upheld its opposition to a roundabout at the Highway C and Highway 83 intersection.

A motion to rescind a resolution passed by the board in November 2015 opposing the roundabout failed Monday by a 2-3 vote. Chairman Diann Tesar and Supervisor Dennis Faber voted in favor of rescinding and Supervisors Dan Campion, Ted Kmiec and Mike Culat voted against rescinding.

The action should effectively kill the state’s proposed roundabout at Highways 83 and C. Federal funds were approved to build the project, but state officials have said they will not pursue the project with local municipal opposition in place.

According to data presented by WisDOT, there were 32 crashes at the intersection between 2010 and 2014. Some 31 percent of those crashes were classified as involving an injury. There were no fatalities in that period. In 2013, the intersection ranked in the top 5 percent of most dangerous intersections in Wisconsin. A roundabout would fix alignment and visibility issues at the intersection, WisDOT officials said. By moving from a traffic signal controlled intersection to a roundabout the chance for high speed, t-bone, right angle crashes is virtually eliminated and conflict points reduced from 32 to 8.

Yet opposition to the roundabout proved persistent.

Before the item was considered by the board, five citizens addressed the board regarding the roundabout. One said they supported the roundabout and four said they opposed it. One of those opposed said she spoke with a Bristol official who said a roundabout at Highway C and MB had reduced severity of crashes there, but she still opposed a roundabout at Highway C and 83.

Each board member also summarized their position on the issue before the vote:

Campion repeated his opposition to the roundabout. He said he is unsatisfied with the state’s data, which he suggested was given to the town “piecemeal.” He acknowledged that roundabouts are a good idea in some places, but not at Highway 83 and Highway C, but he did not specify why.

Kmiec largely echoed Campion’s points, especially that the data was flawed. “I’ve been against it from the get go,” Kmiec said. He lamented that the state was willing to spend $3 million on the roundabout, but the town struggles to find money to pave roads. State officials have said money that would have gone for the roundabout could not be transferred to paving town roads.

Culat said he found a lot of opposition to the roundabout in the community and among truck drivers he polled. “I don’t see it as so bad of an intersection,” Culat said. “Nobody wants it; nobody is in favor of it.”

Faber pointed out that public sentiment at the first state sponsored public information meeting was pro-roundabout and that he has favored the roundabout from the start. “I think safety has always been number one in my mind,” Faber said.

Tesar, in her comments, pushed back against the idea presented by Campion and Kmiec that the state’s data did not present an accurate picture. “I don’t think the results were skewed,” Tesar said. “I don’t think they (WisDOT) falsified anything.” She went on to say that she trusted WisDOT expertise in this area. If anyone gets in a major accident at the intersection she will feel terrible, she concluded.

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7 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I agree…roundabouts do eliminate t-bone crashes. But I really don’t think the state sat there and watched over what really happens at that intersection. So now thy won’t even put in a left turn signal? They are just setting up the the “ha! Told ya so” speech. Left turn signal lights will significantly reduce crashes there! All you have to do is look with your own eyes. Try going through that intersection between 4pm and 5:30pm. You’ll see with YOUR own eyes!

  2. There ought to be a law says:

    David Craig representative from Vernon just introduced (8-4-15) the long sought after bill to give local governments say in placement of roundabouts. This law has been talked about for a long time but I don’t know if it passed.

    Looking at Bristols failure to stop their future roundabout at 45 and C it seems strange that the DOT so easily gave up on Salem. Is the law passed and in place? And if not why did Salem have such an easy time when Bristol didn’t ?

    I try to keep up but did I miss something here?

    1. @there ought to be a law: The state had originally wanted to build roundabouts at Highway 45 and State Line Road and Highway 45 and Highway C as part of the Highway 45 reconstruction project but dropped both of those when Bristol objected, just as it did with Salem.

  3. Shelly says:

    I’m sure there are a lot of intersections that would benefit from roundabouts. I find it interesting that it seems there’s been a need and a lot of requests to have a roundabout at 83 and JF as well. There has actually been a fatality at that intersection and quite a few accidents there as well. Couldn’t the funds be reallocated to that intersection? However, WisDot won’t listen to the residents request.

  4. Grant says:

    I agree with Shelly about the 83/JF intersection, @Darren don’t know why Bristol would have objected to the 45 and State Line r-bout. The 45/State Line has had it’s share of fatalities, plus 18 wheelers use 45 frequently and blow through the lights. Seen the same at Hunt Club and State Line with cars coming south on Hunt Club…

  5. American Tax Payer says:

    Roundabouts are safer than both traffic circles and intersections—experiencing 39% fewer vehicle collisions, 76% fewer injuries and 90% fewer serious injuries and fatalities (according to a study of a sampling of roundabouts in the United States, when compared with the intersections they replaced)

    10/26/2016 ANOTHER accident at Highways 83 and C. The street light is still on the northwest side of the intersection.

    At about 6:39 p.m. October 4, 2016, Town of Salem Fire/Rescue units and sheriff’s deputies are responding to a crash at Highways c and 83 in Salem.

    People continue to speed up through a yellow light and drive right through red lights causing injury and even deaths.
    Round-about force everyone to slow down no matter what.
    In many cases vehicles don’t even have to stop, unlike stop lights making roundabout a quicker option.
    West of 45 Citizen you are WRONG. As a semi-driver I have no issues getting through a roundabout. I do however have problems making turns at stop lights when people do not stop at the painted stop bar during a red light.

    From data collected by NHTSA in 2012, 3561 people were killed in head-on traffic collisions across the nation.
    In 2011, there were 15,307 fatal roadway departure crashes resulting in 16,948 fatalities, which was 51% of the fatal crashes in the nation, according to the Fatal Analysis Reporting System
    In 2012, 1,934 people were killed in rear-end crashes in the U.S.
    In 2012, there were 6,763 deaths from rollover crashes in the U.S.

  6. I’m all for making intersections safer but I do not agree that a roundabout is the best solution many roundabouts are being changed into intersections across the country because they cause traffic and accidents when people do not know how to use them.

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