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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.

Brian Wirth July 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM
What I've noticed about these round-a-bouts is the amazing number of drivers who don't yield when they are suppose to yield. Just pay attention to the signs, please.
John July 11, 2012 at 02:19 AM
I still hate them. There have been a rash of people driving the wrong way on 41 and 45 after they were installed near west bend. I frequent the cabela's there and have nearly been tboned a few times. Personally I stopped shopping at the pick and save in saukville and walmart. Whatever college boy thought these were a good idea should have to drive that mess everyday. I now shop in Grafton. I simply avoid these hazards.
Dave July 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM
what is with all the sigbs and pick up the gravel already
Mike July 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
If drivers obey the signs, the roundabouts work just fine. The only complaint I have is when drivers speed up into the roundabouts. They don't follow the signs and yield. They will learn eventually.
Don Voigt July 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM
First, we need to see the history of these traffic logistics designs....look to Europe, where they are ubiquitous. And, the reason for their popularity is always efficiency. We need to understand and embrace efficiency...or, be left in the dust (more than an allegory, here). Second, having traveled much of central Europe, I can assure you that our roundabouts are elegant in design (in comparison to many) and those responsible for their design/layouts should be complemented - not berated. Finally, if we simply understand that anything new is bound to create some struggle, we need to be patient as we all learn the basic rules of the road for these simple and elegant traffic efficiency designs. They are here....let's embrace them and know that this is not a new concept nor an unproven concept....to the rest of humanity. We can be seen as exemplary and progressive....or we can frustrate ourselves over progress and be unhappy forevermore!
Robert B. July 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I don't mind the round abouts but holy cow - who went nuts with the signs? The amount of street signs for the entire project, not just the round abouts, is absurd. Next time you drive through, take a look and you'll see what I mean.
Greg July 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I thought the same thing. And when driving west out of Port Washington, I thought the project looked like a homage to pavement.
Jim Bathke July 11, 2012 at 03:29 PM
An easy rule to remember....once you are in the roundabout, you have the right of way. I feel just the opposite about shopping in Grafton John. Adjust the absurdly long stop light times, especially Hwy. 60 & Port Rd. Cars sitting idle for 30 seconds...gas is expensive!
Annie Bahringer July 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
That's a good point: they don't yield and they go too fast around the curve. They think they can hurry up and go around, but they need to slow down and look, not speed up. Then there are those who wait for everyone to go past....
Dave July 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM
signs signs evert where signs good thing they got rid of thr powerlines to make room for all of the signs
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Hah, OK so I paid attention to the signage on my way through today and it definitely is so colorful it looks like a nintendo game or something!
Vic July 11, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Why this project taking so long? Nothing was going on November through April, and now not much happening either. Just finish it already. What was the reason for delay? Too much snow and rain?
John July 11, 2012 at 06:53 PM
When someone clips your front end, or T-bones the side of your car, you'll be there alot longer than the 10-30 seconds you might have waited in a turning lane at a light.
Greg Huegerich July 12, 2012 at 08:18 PM
It would be pretty nice if they had the work done by Fish Day. In fact, the Fish day traffic was one of the early parts of this project last summer, at least, when they moved into the actual road phase of the construction. Probably a bigger discussion, but it sure feels like these construction companies are getting stretched across too many projects, and it seems like they want to keep the projects running as long as possible thru the season, rather than just getting them done and getting out of our way (see Grafton's bridge project on Hwy O for another great example of something taking far too long).
John July 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Ok lord, Gred you hit that on the dot. That thing has been down for months. April or sooner? 5 to 7 days a week NOTHING is happening. Zilch, nada, nothing. For one tiny little bridge. So there has a been a lengthy detour through a residential neighborhood... for months. Even if they had to Block off / Drain parts of the water in two parts, to allow the pouring of concrete it was a 3-4 week job tops. .... entering month five shortly....
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) July 13, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I agree, Greg ... I have NO idea what is going on with that bridge ... seriously, open that road! Don't cite me on this, but I've been told they stumbled upon a large footing that they didn't know was there, so it set the project back a couple months. I really don't know what that means, but maybe someone on here does!
Dick Diener July 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I love the "Nintendo game" comment... how true!
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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