The new roundabouts have been up on the intersections of Moon Rd., and Highway 12 near Wisconsin Dells for a while now. How are you feeling about them? Opinions seem to be quite mixed. I’ve heard everything from love to indifference, to flat out hatred. Regardless of taste however, roundabouts have been shown to be more efficient and safer than standard intersections in most instances. Chances are we’ll be seeing more in the very near future.
Roundabouts have been around in the UK since the 1960s and have been gaining popularity here in the states as well. For good reason. According to studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts provide a 90% reduction in fatal crashes and 76% reduction in injury crashes. They also reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes as well. That’s not 50% or 10% but 90%! You have to take a moment to let that soak in.
Right now the biggest problem with our new roundabouts is that they are not intended for highway traffic. The moon road roundabouts are intended to be part of bypass but are currently taking all Highway 12 traffic into and out of Wisconsin Dells while the multi-lane highway is being completed. Given that, they seem to be performing quite well. Once construction on the new highway is completed, the roundabouts won’t see nearly as much traffic as they are shuffling right now.
Another issue causing some delay is that many folks in the area are simply not familiar with roundabouts. Often “newbies” will stop for a moment to get their bearings before proceeding, especially if there is heavy truck traffic. In time drivers will simply take them in their stride. A few might even find them kinda fun!
If you’ve never driven a roundabout before here’s a nice video introduction to driving through them.
Get The Facts!
What do you think of the new roundabouts? Share your comments!