Round-about supported for Highway 17-70 west intersection in Vilas County
The Vilas County Traffic Safety Commission last week voted to recommend the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation study creating a round-about design at the intersection of Highways 17-70 west of Eagle River to reduce accidents and confusion on and passing lanes.
If constructed, this would be the first one for Vilas County.
According to Capt. Gerard Ritter of the Vilas County Sheriffs Dept. there needs to be a change due to accidents at that location.
“Since January, 2018 there have been 16 accidents at that site,” Capt. Ritter said. “This year since July there have been three crashes.” He recommends having the county send a letter to the DOT to look at creating a round-about since there appears to be enough state land ownership to accomplish development.
A state resurfacing project on Highway 70 is expected in 2022 from County H east to Highway 45.
This could change if a round-about is favored at the Highway 17-70 west intersection.
The commission supported the recommendation for a round-about with corporation counsel Jack Albert volunteering to draft the letter to be signed by Troy Schalinske, Vilas County highway commissioner, to the DOT.
While round-abouts may not always decrease accidents, they almost eliminate fatal accidents.
Capt. Ritter indicated to date there were 328 total accidents recorded in Vilas County compared to 299 last year. The three municipalities with the most accidents were Lincoln with 35 followed by Lac du Flambeau with 34 and Arbor Vitae with 30.
A number of state projects planned for 2022 in Vilas County with resurfacing the main issue. These include 17 miles of Highway 47, seven miles of Highway 45 from Chain ‘O Lakes Road north to Highway K, Highway45 to Highway 70 and two miles of Highway 70 from county trunk H to Highway 45. Again, this may be modified if a round-about is supported.
State information indicated the number of crashes by drivers age 65 and over is on the increase but the number of state fatalities for this year, 548, is comparable to last year’s 549. In Vilas County the
average number of fatal accidents each year is four and so far in 2021 it is zero.