BY NAOMI KOWLES
For the Star Journal
Drivers attempting to leave or enter Rhinelander next spring via the intersection of US 8 and WIS 47 will be detoured; the exact path of the detour requires an agreement between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the city of Rhinelander and Oneida County.
The Rhinelander Public Works Committee gave its approval to a DOT plan Monday to reroute traffic using a right turn lane from US 8 W onto US 8 /WIS 47 S, leading to Boyce Drive and Kemp Street, and from W Kemp Street onto a right turn lane for WIS 47 N. The measure goes to the full council for a vote Aug. 13. The Oneida County board must also approve the plan.
The city chose this option instead of a plan to create a staged construction alternative intersection, which the DOT presented in June to the community as a slightly more expensive, longer and less functionable choice.
The detour is expected to last for about five months from early spring to October 2019. The DOT will also be responsible for costs relating to traffic controls as well as temporary repairs to “maintain highway traffic.” The roundabout has been a source of controversy in the community since the DOT designated it over a signalized intersection in February. The project comes after 38 reported accidents between 2012 and 2016 at the intersection, and will be constructed at a cost of between $2 and $2.5 million.