The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WIS DOT) is currently in the midst of expanding 31 miles of US Hwy 10 stretching from Marshfield to Stevens Point.. Construction of the project began in 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2012. With this project, the Wisconsin DOT plans to introduce three new roundabouts at intersections along the highway.
This concept is fairly new to the State of Wisconsin and extremely new to residents in the Central Wisconsin area. Many residents have not yet been exposed to this type of structure and have grown concerned over the change. Although concern is natural when involving changes to routine, the additional safety these structures provide for travelers should overshadow the concern in using them.
According to the Wisconsin DOT, roundabouts are a much favored addition to the highway system because of their safety, as well as providing an “efficient traffic flow”. This is primarily due to the slower speeds at which traffic navigates the roundabout, as well as the minimal conflict points at which traffic meets.
Roundabouts, however, are nothing to fear, as they are extremely easy to navigate and the signage very easy to comprehend. As you approach a roundabout, you will be greeted by signage displaying a speed advisory for navigating the intersection, as well as directional information as to which way you will be exiting. Directional signs look much like the top of a question mark, with one line draw at the top and one at each side. To stay on the current road, you will navigate to the top exit (also the second exit on the roundabout). To turn right on the intersecting road, you will take the first exit on the roundabout and to turn left, you will take the third exit. These are marked by the lines on either side of the symbol.
For the most part, all roundabouts are set up the same and come in two forms — single lane and multilane. Multilane are slightly more complex than single lane. In a multilane situation, you would use the right lane to go straight or turn right and the left lane to go straight or left.
The Wisconsin DOT’s website includes the following guidelines on using roundabouts:
1. Look to the left and yield to drivers already in the roundabout.
2. Stay in your lane when in the roundabout.
3. Do not stop in the roundabout.
4. Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles.
5. Only enter a roundabout during a gap in traffic.
For more information on the construction of US Hwy 10 and roundabouts, visit the Wisconsin DOT’s website at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov.