Wisconsin locals could soon decide on roundabouts

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/7/2013

If a Wisconsin state lawmaker gets his way, communities throughout the state would get to decide whether they want roundabouts.

State law now leaves the decision about whether to construct roundabouts up to state transportation officials.

The one-way circular intersections are increasingly popular in Wisconsin. The state Department of Transportation lists more than 200 roundabouts installed and operating.

WisDOT touts their use as providing “safer and more efficient traffic flow than standard intersections.”

The circular design is used to control traffic instead of a stop sign or traffic signal. To help accommodate large trucks, a truck apron is included on the inside of roundabouts for the rear wheels.

However, many travelers say the circular design is confusing and they often try to avoid routes that include them.

Rep. David Craig, R-Vernon, introduced a bill on Wednesday, August 7, that he said would ensure communities have their say on the issue. Specifically, the bill mandates that prior to the construction of any roundabout, the local government – city, town or village – would need to approve the project.

“This legislation ensures that local communities have a say in the roundabout process and ensures that Madison bureaucrats – many of whom will never use the roundabouts they design – cannot trample on the voice of those who will actually navigate these roadway projects,” Craig said in a news release.

The bill – AB275 – awaits assignment to committee. The Senate version – SB243 – also awaits assignment to committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Wisconsin, click here.

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