08/30/2019- Changes are coming to one of US 41’s most dangerous intersections. The Wisconsin DOT has secured funding through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program to bring updates to the intersection of 41 and Country Meadows Road just west of the Marinette city limit. There have been 27 crashes, including some fatalities, at that location since the DOT began a traffic study of the intersection in 2013. 80% of those accidents were angle crashes where a vehicle attempting to cross the highway was struck broadside by a driver traveling north on 41 and that’s why Ben Wilkinson with MSA Professional Services says the best option is to close the median altogether.
“It significantly reduces the crashes, especially the angle crashes- the ones with all the injuries. It maintains most of the business access. This, of course, take away a little bit of access at the intersection. It allows only right turns from Highway 41, so, northbound you can still turn onto Country Meadows, but you can’t coming south on 41. People that want to do that would have to make another maneuver. They would have to either go down to Flame Road or make a left up at Roosevelt Road.”
While residents have been calling for lower speed limits along that corridor as a potential solution, Matt Ternes with the DOT says that could actually create more problems.
“People are going to drive what the road feels comfortable to drive at. If we artificially set it lower than what people are driving at- let’s say it’s posted at 25 miles per hour, but it feels comfortable to drive it at 45- some people are going to drive it at 25, a lot of people are going to drive it at 45, which actually causes more of an issue when there’s varying speeds and you’re trying to pull out into traffic. Those cars are coming at you at different speeds and it’s hard to judge that gap.”
The total cost of the project will be between $300000 and $400000, 90% of which will be covered by federal funding. The project will only take about a month to complete is slated for summer of 2021, but representatives say there is the potential that timeline could be moved up to 2020.