Hate Roundabouts? Maybe You Don't Know How to Use Them

The Highway 33 project is slated to end in August with a detour set for July 16 to complete one of three new roundabouts. Navigating these intersections can be tricky — so check out the DOTs interactive tutorial and learn how.

Around and around and around you go — where you stop? Nobody knows?

That might be the feeling some drivers have when navigating roundabouts on the roadway, but with three such intersections in active use along Highway 33, Port Washington and Saukville officials are hopeful residents are getting used to them.

"I'm personally really getting used to them, I think they will do what they're designed to do … its just something that we have to change our driving habits," Saukville Police Chief Bill Meloy said.

Meloy said the department has responded to three minor accidents in the roundabouts, but he blames the fact that the area is currently "busy" with construction workers, gravel-littered roads and other distractions — rather than incorrect use of roundabouts.

And Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said the only problems his department has faced so far in connection with roundabouts have been complaints about gravel in the road and the unfinished curbing.

The project started in late spring 2011, with plans to  from South Tower Street in Port Washington to the Milwaukee River overflow bridge in Saukville. The three roundabouts were added at the intersections of Hwy. 33 and County LL, Hwy. 33 and Northwoods Road, and Hwy. 33 and Market Street.

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Initially, the Department of Transportation Project Manager , but Port Washington City Engineer Rob Vanden Noven said the project is now slated to end on Aug. 17.

The highway is set to close July 16 for final construction of the roundabout at the intersection with LL, and traffic will have to take the detour starting at 7 a.m. that day, Vanden Noven said. Some night paving will also have to take place, but that date has not yet been determined.

Meloy said he’s confident that once the construction is complete, the roundabouts will be a great addition — moving traffic flow more efficiently and resulting in fewer serious accidents.

In the meantime, if you’re still having trouble navigating the roundabouts — here are some tips from the Wisconsin DOT website:

  • Slow down.
  • Watch for and obey traffic signs.
  • Move into the correct lane for the direction you want to travel.
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists as you enter and exit the roundabout.
  • Look to the left for traffic.
  • Enter when it is safe.
  • Keep your speed low and stay in your lane within the roundabout (do not change lanes within the roundabout).
  • Exit carefully to your destination. Use your right-turn signal, in front of the splitter island just prior to your exit, to indicate your intention to exit.

What do you think about the roundabouts? Tell us in the comments.

john smith July 13, 2012 at 03:56 PM
My family hates them to. Is it me or has the Saukville wal-mart gone down hill since they made it a super Wal-mart? Because of the roundabout and construction we go to the super wal-mart in west bend. You can avoid the construction and a much better store.
John July 16, 2012 at 02:56 AM
@john smith, Sometimes I go to west bend, if I have a Cabela's trip to make as part of it. Plymouth has Fleet Farm and a Walmart a bit down the road on 57. Depends where we are headed that trip. EIther beats ever driving through Saukville's round abouts ever again. Hopefully they wise up like other community's have and rip them out in the upcoming years. Unnecessary mess and driving hazard. Waste of time and money as well.
Vic August 17, 2012 at 02:01 AM
So, tomorrow???
Jeff August 20, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The animated diagram reminds me of a martial arts film, a well rehearsed extraordinary dance of potential real life violence with the slightest mishap. You plug real people into real cars and real pedestrians into this program and run it in real time, it doesn't look like this pretty. So the argument is, well, we just need to learn. Right, like as a populace we need to learn how to do all those simple things like to stop completely at stop signs? Yield at crosswalks? Not use our cell phones/txt while driving? Understand and fully implement the very basic fast/passing and slow dichotomy of the left and right lanes of highway traffic? Single lane roundabouts appear to be fairly safe at the right intersections, but multiple lane roundabouts scare the biscuits out of me wholesale, mostly because humans are using them, distracted as usual.
Daniel S. August 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
@ Mike "If drivers obey the signs, the roundabouts work just fine." Yes Mike, this is so True, and if drivers would only quit tailgating, speeding and filling in the smallest gap on the interstate where traffic was going along smoothly at 60mph, and if only they wouldn't wait till the last second to get over exit on a ramp and if only . . . . If only people had respect for themselves, they might respect others too.


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