DOT stands by Highway 57 traffic controls
This month, 40 people heard Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) engineers explain why the 55-mph speed limit, signage, crossing markings and passing zone remain appropriate on Highway 57 where it passes Maxwelton Braes Golf Course.
Rod Hamilton, northeast Wisconsin traffic engineer; and Brian Brock, systems and planning operation chief, made a presentation to the Baileys Harbor Town Board about the traffic study that was requested in 2019.
As reported in the Peninsula Pulse in early July, DOT engineers found during late May and early June that 80% of motorists were complying with the speed limit, driving an average of 51.1 mph. The DOT officials reiterated that the passing zone on the lengthy straightaway with adequate sight lines is appropriate. In addition, providing a passing zone on a roadway with very few passing zones prevented motorists from passing in unsafe locations.
When Town Chair Don Sitte asked Hamilton whether he had observed the traffic on Highway 57 near Maxwelton Braes in person, Hamilton said he had observed traffic during one week in late June, and he found that motorists were driving at an average of 49.9 mph in the 55-mph zone.
The DOT officials said the current static, yellow-triangle warning signs – including pedestrian, golf cart and pedestrian crossing – and the painted crosswalk all provide advance warnings to motorists and are up to standard. Brock said the DOT can update the signage to higher visibility with newer technology, according to the town board’s meeting minutes, and the DOT can change the order of the signs by relocating the golf-cart signs farther out toward the limit of the course.
If the DOT makes those upgrades – or if the town or county makes additional upgrades, such as a flashing beacon at a cost of $5,000-$8,000 – DOT officials will do another traffic study in spring 2022.
After the presentation, the board voted to proceed with the DOT recommendations to improve signage and to “implement the crosswalk with a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon” at a location and cost to be determined later. The board is not pushing for a lowered speed limit or a change to the passing zone.
Concerns expressed during the meeting came from Jim Musiel, representing the Maxwelton Braes homeowners association, who reiterated demands to remove the passing zone and lower the speed limit to 45 mph. Baileys Harbor Constable Mark Merrill said he would like to see some cautionary signs, such as those warning of tractors, near the south end of the course for the greenkeeping crew. Two residents about a half mile to the south expressed concern about the proximity of the passing zone to a roadway that leads to the boat ramp, where motorists pulling boat trailers enter and exit the highway.