Wisconsin DOT Chooses Roundabout Option For Rhinelander Intersection

Feb 6, 2018

Drawing of the proposed roundabout.
Credit WXPR

The Department of Transportation(DOT) has decided to install a roundabout at the busy U.S. 8--Wisconsin 47 intersection on Rhinelander's west side.

In December, the DOT held a meeting at Rhinelander City Hall to get public input.

The roundabout was presented as a less expensive alternative to keeping the traditional arrangement of the intersection with upgrades. Project Manager Dan Erva outlines what they feel are reasons for the roundabout....

"...roundabouts improve the safety of the intersection by reducing the conflict points and crash severity, it slows traffic approaching the location, it's the lowest cost alternative, improves the mobility and efficiency of the intersection by reducing traffic delays during peak travel hours, doesn't require changes to existing driveways or median openings, and reduces maintenance costs associated with traffic signals...."

Officials says the roundabouts reduce traffic speed and has shown to lower the number of serious crashes. Erva describes what this proposed roundabout will look like...

"...this will be a single-lane roundabout, so it will be one lane traveling through the circle. Along with accommodations to accommodate truck traffic...."

Construction is planned for 2019. Erva says they're still working on how traffic will be rerouted during construction and will likely have another public meeting to get input on that aspect. There have been 39 crashes and a fatality at the intersection.

DOT officials say the pavement is in poor shape. An upgraded signaled intersection would be about a million dollars more to do than a roundabout.