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Germantown goes roundabout at Fond du Lac Avenue and Donges Bay Road

Fond du Lac, Donges Bay targeted

Dec. 18, 2012

Germantown - While several elements remain under review, a roundabout will likely be placed near the intersection of Fond du Lac Avenue and Donges Bay Road when construction takes place in 2015.

Fond du Lac Avenue, also known as State Highway 145, is under the purview of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which is funding most of the construction work along the roadway experiencing an increase in traffic.

DOT has recommended the roundabout at the intersection in an effort to mitigate crashes. But the proposal drew concern from several members of the Germantown Village Board when it was discussed Monday.

The state agency has hired an engineering firm, Bloom Companies, to handle the preliminary planning details. Jeremy Hinds, a project manager with Bloom, came before the board with an update on plans and said he will be moving forward with the roundabout design.

The DOT and its federal counterpart, the Federal Highway Administration, have been calling on road improvements to incorporate elements with future projections in mind, meaning the roundabout would be in place to handle additional traffic along Fond du Lac Avenue.

Trustees Art Zabel and Melvin Ewert were among the most vocal opponents of the plans to place a roundabout at the site.

"In this particular intersection, I think it would be best not to have a roundabout," Ewert said.

Zabel said he believes the intersection needs to be redone. But he questioned the full scope of the work.

"I agree roundabouts are safer, but I wish you'd look at a design that is minimal so it's reasonable for the area," Zabel said.

One-way driveways

One sticking point with the roundabout is the impact it could have on nearby residents. Based on a preliminary design, it could force people to leave their driveway in only one direction.

For example, if a person wanted to head east, he or she might have to first travel westbound, meander through the roundabout and then resume the easterly direction.

"We've heard (residents') concerns, and we'll see what we can do about access," Hinds said.

Village President Dean Wolter acknowledged that the roundabout appears to be an imminent part of the reconstruction plans. But he recommended discussion continue on other design elements.

"Right or wrong, this is the standard we need to adhere to today," Wolter said. "When you get in bed with the state for a project of this magnitude, you give more than you get, I believe. But let's look at this carefully and look out for the best interest of Germantown and its residents."

Teach how to use roundabouts

With the roundabout appearing imminent, Trustee Al Vanderheiden said he would like to see greater overtures toward educating people on how to travel through one.

"I think the state has done a poor job of teaching the citizens how to drive in roundabouts," Vanderheiden said. "I see people stopping when they should be going. The need for education is great."

Hinds said further efforts to solicit feedback from residents are ongoing.

"We want to better our design," Hinds said. "We want to hear from you."

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