Wisconsin bill seeks local authority on roundabout use

August 23, 2019

Keith Goble

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There are more than 30 roundabouts scheduled for construction around Wisconsin in coming years. A push underway at the statehouse could throw a wrench into those plans.

The traffic pattern has grown in popularity in the state in recent years following the U.S. Department of Transportation backing their installation to slow traffic and reduce the frequency of severe wrecks.

In fact, a state DOT study found that roundabouts cut severe wrecks in Wisconsin by about one-third, but minor wrecks increased by about 12%.

A legislative effort would prohibit construction of roundabouts by the state agency unless local governments sign off on the projects.

Sen. David Craig, R-Vernon, is a sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

He has referred to the effort as a “common-sense measure” to allow local governments, which know their areas best, to make the final decision.

“They know local traffic flows, the concerns of people, business needs, and the types of traffic far better than the Department of Transportation bureaucrats in Madison,” Craig said in previous remarks.

Truckers add that while the traffic pattern does save fuel it can be very difficult for large vehicles to maneuver through affected intersections.

Supporters of roundabouts say that DOT engineers know best when it comes to constructing intersections. They add that legislation would lengthen an already lengthy process and add more costs to projects.

Craig’s bill, SB280, is in the Senate Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committee. The Assembly bill, AB281, is in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.