The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has secured a little more than $2 million to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 42/57 and Gordon Road/County BB, commonly referred to as the “Culver’s intersection” in Sevastopol.
Although the roundabout is “what we’re leaning toward and probably what we’ll be recommending,” said Mason Simmons, a DOT traffic-safety engineer, the DOT can’t say for sure that the “intersection modification” will be a roundabout.
“We won’t know it’s a roundabout until we meet with the public,” he said.
In November 2022, Simmons applied for a grant for the roundabout/intersection modification from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program – each state also has a management office for that program – and received word on April 17 that he was successful. The grant requires a 10% state match.
He said that “we know the one-way stop is not working great,” yet the site doesn’t meet traffic-signal criteria. About 15,000 vehicles on average travel Highway 42/57 daily, with 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles on average traveling Gordon Road/County BB daily. That means a traffic signal “would be stopping 15 cars to let two or three through – and that’s not the ratio we want.”
Simmons said it’s still early in the process, and the public meetings that will be involved will likely start in 2024.
The project would include, in addition to the construction of the intersection modification, any real estate purchases needed, utility moves and the reconstruction of a box culvert.
If a roundabout is constructed, it would be the third in a line along that stretch of Highway 42/57. The other two are south of the Gordon Road intersection at Egg Harbor Road and Michigan Street.
But a third roundabout is still years away.
“I have been told by several people at the state that this [roundabout project] has a lot of interest, and they are trying to move this along for possible completion in a four-year window” – or 2027 at the earliest, said Thad Ash, Door County highway commissioner.
County Spending $251,151 on Its Own Changes
Ash said last year that the intersection was “one of the most dangerous in the county.” Twenty-two accidents have taken place there during the past five years, with 50% of those caused by motorists turning north onto the highway from Gordon Road.
Ash’s opinion about the danger of the intersection was shared by the City of Sturgeon Bay, the Door County Highway Safety Commission and the County of Door – which resolved in August 2022 to make the intersection safer by committing $100,000 in highway reserve funds to block access for motorists turning north onto the highway from Gordon Road/County BB.
Since then, the state has reviewed the county’s plans and “added some things they want to do,” Ash told the Door County Board of Supervisors during its June 27 meeting.
Those additional pieces include an acceleration lane and lane-separating delineators. More traffic is anticipated to travel on Old Highway Road, which connects Gordon Road and Egg Harbor Road parallel to and just west of Highway 42/57, so turning-radius improvements need to be made to that road, Ash said.
With the additions, he said he was short about $151,515 and asked the supervisors to transfer that amount – in addition to the original $100,000 – for the project.
The supervisors unanimously granted the request.
Prior to the vote, Ash said that any improvements his department makes now “will be gone” if the roundabout proceeds.
“I just want to be clear about that,” he said.