A heavily traveled intersection for the Southern Door School District with a history of accidents and one fatality will be getting some safety improvements following decisions made by the Door County Board of Supervisors, Oct. 24.
The supervisors agreed to install two stop signs on Cloverleaf Road – one stopping traffic eastbound, the other westbound – at the intersection of County Road DK and state Highway 57 in the Town of Nasewaupee.
They also reduced the speed on County Road DK to 45 mph from Stevenson Pier Road north about 2.3 miles to Stone Road.
The stop signs and speed reduction were supported by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (Wis-DOT), the Southern Door School District, the Door County Sheriff’s Office and Renard’s Cheese. The business has a driveway to County Road DK at the Cloverleaf Road intersection, which Renard’s intends to remove, instead using a driveway it also has farther north on County Road DK.
The county considered the safety changes in advance of Wis-DOT making improvements in that area to Hwy. 57, which runs parallel to County Road DK. The state project includes the installation of raised medians to prevent crossing maneuvers and a left turn onto the highway from Cloverleaf Road. Instead, only right in/right out/left in will be allowed.
Pat McCarty, Door County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy/undersheriff, said there’s a high volume of traffic at the intersection depending upon the time of day because it is used as a school route for the Southern Door School District. He said a fatal crash happened at the intersection in 2019.
“Since then, there have been numerous crashes and one of the issues is congestion coming off the turn lane onto DK,” he said. “So the hope is to remove that congestion of drivers coming off DK onto the highway.”
According to Wis-DOT statistics, the intersection of Hwy. 57 and Cloverleaf Road has had six crashes from 2018 to 2022, resulting in one injury and the one 2019 fatality. Of the six accidents, four were right-angle crashes.
District 2 Supervisor Roy Englebert, who represents wards in the towns of Clay Banks, Forestville and Nasewaupee, said two additional accidents have occurred just in the past month.
David Enigl, District 16 supervisor who represents wards in the towns of Egg Harbor and Jacksonport, said he drives that intersection regularly, sees a lot of missed accidents, and doesn’t think stop signs will help.
“I would like them to go up after the [Renard’s] driveway is gone,” he said.
Ken Pabich, county administrator, said Renard’s is willing to take out the driveway in spring 2024 in advance of the state’s project.
“So we’re hoping to get that driveway out sooner as a point of safety,” he said.
District 14 Supervisor Hugh Zettel, who represents wards in the towns of Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol, pushed for the county to barricade Renard’s driveway until the business had a chance to remove it to provide “an additional ounce of safety until we get to that point.”
District 17 Supervisor Bob Bultman, who represents wards in the towns of Baileys Harbor and Jacksonport, thanked Renard’s for taking the initiative to close their access driveway.
“I think that’s huge [for Renard’s] to recognize the greater good of the commonwealth requires that removal,” he said.
The supervisors voted on the speed reduction and stop sign installation as separate ordinances. The speed reduction ordinance passed with the dissent of only District 4 Supervisor Nancy Robillard, who represents wards in the towns of Gardner and Nasewaupee.
The ordinance authorizing the installation of the two stop signs passed 15-5 (with one absent at the time of the vote). Those who voted against it were Enigl; Robillard; Zettel, District 6 Supervisor Ken Fisher, who represents wards in the town and city of Sturgeon Bay; and District 1 Supervisor David Englebert, who represents wards in Brussels and Union.