Star Prairie village discusses traffic changeResidents of Star Prairie deemed the intersection at Jerdee Avenue and Jewel Street dangerous years ago. Now, it has the state’s attention.
By: By Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
Residents of Star Prairie deemed the intersection at Jerdee Avenue and Jewel Street dangerous years ago. Now, it has the state’s attention.
Greg Helgeson, traffic safety engineer for Wisconsin Department of Transportation, met with the village board last Wednesday to discuss the situation and possible solutions. Twelve village residents also attended the meeting.
“Over the years we’ve had a number of complaints,” Helgeson said.
Since 1994 nine crashes have occurred at the intersection, but there have been several more near misses, he said.
The biggest problem is southbound traffic on Jewel Street, he said.
Cars traveling east on Jerdee Avenue are allowed to curve north onto Jewel Street without stopping. In an attempt to take a short cut, several southbound cars continue south on Jewel Street instead of following the Highway 65 route through downtown Star Prairie. The problem, Helgeson said, is when those cars fail to yield to the oncoming traffic from Jerdee Avenue.
“Traffic has increased there and the respect for the speed and stop signs is gone,” said Trustee Bruce Johnson. “They come in going 50 mph.”
The state is now involved because Jerdee Avenue and Jewel Street are also considered state highway — Highway 65.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning a pavement improvement project for 2015, Helgeson said.
“At that time they want to address this issue,” he said. “I’m here to get an idea of the level of the problem and get feedback from you.”
The residents agreed the intersection was dangerous.
One resident said it was “easily the most dangerous intersection in town.”
Possible solutions include making Jewel Street a one-way road from Bridge Avenue to Jerdee Avenue, which would prevent southbound traffic from continuing south at Jerdee Avenue; installing a cul-de-sac at the intersection and therefore closing off Jewel Street to traffic; or installing concrete barriers at the intersection.
Johnson said he was against the installation of a cul-de-sac because it would close off a possible alternate route through town.
“It would cause problems if we ever had to close Main Street,” he said.
Most favored the one-way street idea. Even residents whose driveways are along that stretch of road agreed with the one-way road.
“I go that way anyway,” one resident said after board members explained that the proposal would require him to always turn northbound out of this driveway.
“The one-way idea would have the least impact on emergency services,” Helgeson agreed.
The project, which could be implemented before 2015, would include narrowing the road near the intersection and installing “Do not enter” signs near the north end of the one-way street.
Helgeson said he needed to talk to his superiors before confirming it was possible to make the road a one-way street earlier than 2015.