RACINE COUNTY — The county added rumble strips to two dangerous intersections after recent fatal crashes at both, and the state Department of Transportation is performing traffic studies to recommend further improvements, according to Racine County Public Works Director Julie Anderson.
The intersections in question — Seven Mile Road and Highway 45 (124th Street) at the Norway-Raymond border and highways 11 and J at the Dover-Burlington town line — were the site of one fatal crash each in the past month.
At highways 11 and J, a 66-year-old Sturtevant woman died and two others were seriously injured after a crash on July 18. At Seven Mile Road and Highway 45, a 61-year-old woman was killed and another woman was injured in a July 31 crash.
Intersection-approach rumble strips were installed at the crossroads on Aug. 2, and additional signage is on the way. More improvements could be added after recommendations from the DOT’s studies.
While it is unclear what the DOT may recommend for the intersections or when their studies will be completed, Anderson said, the rumble strips are a quick and effective improvement that did not need approval from the Traffic Safety Commission to be installed. When asked about the possibility of roundabouts at the intersections, Anderson said it would be up to the DOT to make that recommendation.
“The ultimate engineering solution in many intersections are roundabouts, but they’re very expensive and they usually require acquiring additional land and that gets to be expensive,” she said.
Information about the DOT’s study at Seven Mild Road and Highway 45 was not immediately available, but DOT spokesman Michael Pyritz said “there’s pretty much anything on the table” for the intersection of highways J and 11.
DOT crews are currently gathering information on traffic flows at J and 11, and have placed a camera at the intersection to track that data over a longer period of time, Pyritz said.
“Based on that information, we will be looking at what options would address the efficiency and safety of that location,” he said. Those options could include a roundabout or traffic lights, he added.
Norway residents ask for change
Norway Town Board members on Monday received a petition from 47 residents asking for change to the intersection. The petition says that “the rumble strips recently installed are not a permanent solution.” It proposes changes including reducing the speed limit on Seven Mile Road to 45 mph before the intersection and to 35 mph within 500 feet of Drought School.
But because the intersection is of a county road and U.S. highway, there is not much Norway could do because neither road is under the town’s jurisdiction, Administrator/Treasurer Tom Kramer said. Kramer is also a county supervisor and said he is passing the petition on to the county.
“I think getting the speed reduced and putting flashing lights in would be the solution from a county supervisor point of view,” he said.
“The ultimate engineering solution in many intersections are roundabouts, but they’re very expensive and they usually require acquiring additional land and that gets to be expensive.” Julie Anderson, Racine County director of public works and development services