Construction scheduled for 2019
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has announced it has decided to construct a roundabout for the intersection of US 8 and WIS 47 in Rhinelander.
The options for improving the intersection, for which the work is scheduled for 2019, included either a roundabout or a signalized intersection. Those options were presented by the DOT at a public meeting in December at City Hall. Comments on both options were then accepted by the DOT before making its decision.
DOT project manager Dan Erva stated in a letter Friday that the roundabout is the preferred solution for several reasons because it:
- Improves safety by reducing conflict points and crash severity.
- Slows traffic approaching the location.
- Is the lowest cost alternative.
- Improves the mobility and efficiency of the intersection by reducing traffic delays during peak travel hours.
- Does not require changes to existing driveways or median openings.
- Reduces maintenance costs associated with traffic signals.
Erva said the roundabout construction project includes pavement replacement and raising the grade of the intersection to improve drainage. He also noted the DOT will be conducting a public meeting this spring to discuss and obtain input on options for traffic management during construction in 2019.
The DOT previously indicated it is anticipating work to begin on the US 8 and WIS 47 intersection in the spring of 2019 and take approximately eight months to complete. In addition to the deteriorating pavement at the intersection, the DOT has also noted safety is an issue with 39 crashes reported there between 2012 and 2016.
The DOT estimated the cost of a single-lane roundabout would be about $1 million less – $2 million to $2.5 million, compared to $3 million to $3.6 million for the signalized intersection.