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Despite improvements being made to the Highway 38, the number of car crashes between County Trunk Highway K and the Racine County line Road has not decreased and the state plans to put in rumble strips this summer.

But a roundabout at Highway 38 and 5 Mile Road may also be on the horizon.

Roundabout Could Be Years Away

As the state looked at the number of crashes happening along that stretch of road, village administrator Tom Christensen asked them to also look at putting in a roundabout on Highway 38 and 5 Mile Road. The DOT agrees that the improvements made to the intersection have not reduced the crash rate and a roundabout may help fix the issue.

The Village Board is expected to weigh in on whether they support the concept at a meeting to be held June 6.

“When they did the upgrades to that intersection they changed the geometry there a little with the turn lanes,” Christensen said. “Typically that help with the crash reduction, but so far it doesn’t look like it has. With there being so many, you have to wonder: What’s a life worth?”

The roundabout planning is already in a pre-design phase, but to move forward with the concept the village board needs to give their blessing before more work continues. There was no mention of a specific timeline on when the roundabout could be put in. But Christensen said if approved, it would “be out a few years.”

Some have questioned: Why not put in a roundabout on Highway 38 and 4 Mile Road since it too has had a number of car crashes?

“I say, ‘Yes, why not look at that too,” Christensen said. “Both could probably use it. But currently we don’t have a plan for 4 Mile and we’ve got to start somewhere. Still, 4 Mile just isn’t as bad as 5 Mile.”

Caledonia Police Chief Dan Warren told the Public Works Committee last month that “there is a big vision problem at this intersection” and a roundabout would help make the intersection safer because “it automatically slows traffic down.”

If the roundabout concept is approved and gets funded, the federal government would pay for 90 percent and the state would pay for 10 percent of the cost.

Brian DeNeve, spokesperson for the DOT, said the idea is more of a concept rather than at the formal project phase.

“WisDOT has identified this intersection in need of safety improvements,” said adding that if funded, the construction like wouldn’t occur until 2019 or 2020.

Rumble Strips Coming Soon

Construction is expected to begin on the rumble strip project this summer. Read more about the plan here: Highway 38 Rumble Strips

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will have rumble strips put in on Highway 38 from County Trunk Highway K to North County Line Road after the road was identified as having “severe” safety needs, according to state documents.

A study of the number of crashes along that stretch of road revealed that there was one crash every two weeks and an injury-related crash every three weeks from 2009 through 2013.  There were also two fatal car crashes in 2009.

Over the five-year time frame, 48 crashes were reported and many involved head-on collisions, side-swipes of cars going the opposite direction and run off the road-type crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of transportation.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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