Crash-riddled intersection on Hwy. 33 may get roundabout

DOT considering Town of Saukville traffic circle but local officials are skeptical
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press staff

State transportation officials are considering constructing a roundabout at highways 33 and I in the Town of Saukville to improve safety there.

The state Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the intersection “to determine if there are any warranted safety improvements,” DOT Safety Engineer Dan Dedrick said in an email. 

Supervisors on the Saukville Town Board said during their meeting last week that the DOT had reached out to them seeking feedback.

Supervisors were skeptical of the idea.

“But I’d be interested in hearing what they have to say if they want to come and make a presentation,” Supr. Mike Denzien said.

Town officials estimated the cost of a roundabout would be $1 million to $1.5 million.

“It wouldn’t be town money, but it still would be our tax dollars,” Supr. Curt Rutkowski said.

Last October, a 62-year-old motorcycle rider from Grafton was killed in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection.

According to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Steven DeStrampe was driving his cycle south on Highway I when he failed to yield to a van that was eastbound on Highway 33.

DeStrampe died at the scene.

Town officials said there had been other non-fatal accidents and near misses at the intersection, due largely to the volume of north-south traffic on Highway I and the speed of motorists on Highway 33.

Rural roundabouts are not common but not unheard of, town officials said, noting that a roundabout is located at highways 60 and G near Jackson in Washington County.

Dedrick said a roundabout isn’t the only option being looked at.

“Various, potential safety improvement options will be explored in our analysis,” he said. “We are not at a point of analyzing all criteria to recommend any necessary final improvement alternatives at this time. We are still in a very preliminary stage of evaluation and the details of crash types and severities will be reviewed.

“An evaluation will be completed to determine if potential alternatives are warranted by crash data and/or traffic volume,” he said. 

Once a study is complete, DOT officials will consult with the town and “determine an appropriate method for the public’s input.”

  Meanwhile, another state road construction project is planned for next year.

The Mink Ranch Road bridge over Highway 57 will be closed for three weeks in summer 2020 as part of the state bridges project.

Work will include removing about two inches of the existing deck and overlaying the deck with asphalt, painting the existing steel girders, replacing the guardrail and repaving approaches on both sides of the bridge.

Traffic will be detoured onto highways W, 57, Willow Road and KK.  

Highway 57 also will be closed in both directions for one weekend while the girders are painted. The contractor cannot close Highway 57 between July 4 and Labor Day, DOT Project Engineer Brian Pluemer said.

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