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New four-way stop (copy)

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation installed stop signs along with flashing beacons and rumble strips to increase the safety of the Highways 33 and P intersection in 2015. A roundabout is the next planned improvement.

Highway 33/P traffic to be detoured during construction

KEN THOMAS

Dodge County will soon get its sixth roundabout.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that reconstruction of the Highway 33 and Highway P intersection to install a roundabout will begin today.

During roundabout construction, the Highway 33/P intersection will be closed and detoured. The posted state highway detour route will use Highway 67 to Highway 28 to Highway 41. Highway P will be detoured to Highway S, to Highway 175, then back to Highway P south of Theresa.

Motorists are urged to plan ahead for alternate routes, or to follow the posted detours.

The project is scheduled for completion by July 3.

A DOT press release states that since 2013, multiple attempts have been made to improve safety at the intersection of highways 33 and P with signing including overhead stops, flashing beacons and warning signs. The improvements have proven insufficient as four more crashes were recorded in 2015. Due to the continuation of crashes, the intersection was converted to “all-way stop controlled” in late 2015 as a temporary measure before reconstruction of the intersection.

DOT officials said in a 2016 public meeting that the intersection was among the top 5 percent of most dangerous intersections in the state based on severity, number and type of crashes. They reported that from January 2011 to May 2016 there were a total of 28 accidents at the intersection including one fatal crash, 19 crashes with injuries, and eight involving property damage. Of the 28 crashes, 23 of the accidents occurred at a 90-degree angle.

According to Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt, a roundabout will be especially helpful at the new location.

“The Highway 33 and P intersection used to be terrible as far as severe crashes are concerned,” Schmidt said. “It was especially bad three to four years ago before they installed a 4-way stop. Those stop signs had a big impact on reducing the number of crashes that took place there, but the long-term intention has been to install a roundabout there as a more permanent solution.”

The $1.5 million project is being funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Four roundabouts stand on the north side of Watertown in Dodge County, with another on Highway 60 at Highway P in the town of Rubicon.

According to the DOT, negotiating a roundabout is easy if drivers follow a few simple rules. They include the following:

Slow down.

Watch for and obey traffic signs.

Move into the correct lane the direction you want to travel as you approach the roundabout.

Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists as you enter and exit the roundabout.

Yield to all lanes of traffic on your left before entering.

Keep your speed low and stay in your lane within the roundabout. Do not change lanes within the roundabout.

Exit carefully to your destination. Use your right-turn signal, in front of the splitter island just prior to your exit, to indicate your intention to exit.

Dodge County Assistant Highway Commissioner Pete Thompson has more advice on how to negotiate the new feature.

“Merge when there’s room,” he said. “You’re not going more than 15 mph, which is slower than on any street. Others have to yield to you when they’re entering the circle. Don’t yield to them or you’ll cause a real problem.”

For more information on this and other construction projects in the state, visit 511wi.gov.

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