New Roundabout Opens in Time
for Washington County Fair
WEST BEND, WI – Washington County Fair-goers will encounter a change at the Highway P/Pleasant Valley Road intersection adjacent to the Fair. The previous four-way stop has been replaced with a newly constructed roundabout.
The project is located adjacent to the Washington County Fair, just off Highway 45 between the Village of Jackson and the City of West Bend, approximately 30 minutes north of Milwaukee.
R.A. Smith National, Brookfield, Wis., was retained by Washington County in 2006 to study the intersection and recommend an appropriate design solution. A single-lane roundabout was selected as the preferred design for the following primary reasons:
- The existing crash rates at the former four-way stop were 57% higher than the statewide average and two-thirds of all recent crashes involved injuries. Roundabouts have been shown to reduce total crashes by 35% and injury crashes by more than 75%.
- Unlike the former four-way stop, the roundabout will accommodate future traffic volumes. The roundabout is also expected to operate with fewer delays than a traffic signal.
- Roundabouts have lower maintenance costs versus traffic signals.
The new roundabout will improve safety and enhance traffic flow at the intersection. It is expected that the roundabout will accommodate more than 15,000 vehicles per day by the year 2028.
Washington County Highway Commissioner Jon Edgren, commented on the decision to construct a roundabout at County Highway P and Pleasant Valley Road. “The proven safety record of roundabouts was instrumental in our decision,” said Edgren. “Improving traffic flow at the intersection was also important. With roundabouts, drivers are yielding at the entry, not coming to a complete stop. This keeps vehicles moving and minimizes delays. Finally, maintenance at a roundabout is clearly easier than a traditional intersection. We don’t have to worry about electrical maintenance and power outages as we would with a signalized intersection. The day-to-day maintenance is minimal.”
Chief John Skodinski of the Jackson Fire Department provides some words of advice to motorists when approaching this and other roundabouts. “Safety is the most important consideration at a roundabout,” said Skodinski. “Drivers need to slow down and proceed with caution. Public safety officials need to train their people to be cautious and attentive to the other drivers in the roundabout.”
The new roundabout opened to traffic on June 12, 2009, and as planned, in time for the Washington County Fair to be held July 21-26, 2009.