THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Mayor, DOT Disagree On Bridge Curve Safety
Issue Date: December 19, 2012
Peshtigo Mayor Al Krizenesky and the Department of Transpor-tation (DOT) disagree on safety concerns on the curve leading to the newly constructed bridge in Peshtigo. However, both are in agreement that the bump on the eastbound approach of the new bridge needs to be corrected.
After receiving concerns from citizens regarding danger of the curve to the bridge on the east side near the intersection of Pine Street and East Front St., the mayor contacted the DOT.
Concerns included vehicle traffic at the curve had the potential to drive over the curb and down an embankment into the Peshtigo River. Also, students and pedestrian traffic use the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge to and from school or downtown business establishments and could be in jeopardy.
Previous to construction of the new bridge, there had been a large sign over the highway at the curve designating traffic direction to turn right to Marinette or straight ahead down Pine St. The sign was anchored by large posts which had prevented several vehicles from going into the river. There was also a flashing yellow light to indicate presence of the curve.
A meeting between Mayor Krizenesky and personnel from the office of the DOT Green Bay office was held Nov. 30. At the meeting, the mayor pointed out his concerns and those of residents. He suggested some type of railing or guard rail be installed along the curved approach .
On Dec. 10, Will Dorsey, director of the DOT in Green Bay wrote a letter stating, While we take the safety concerns of motorists seriously, we believe in this instance those concerns are more a function of perception than actual unsafe conditions. Certainly the river is more visible following completion of our bridge replacement project. However, with the exception of the removal of some trees and brush along the shoreline, this project essentially replaced the bridge and roadway in kind. No changes were made to the alignment of the roadway or adjacent grades.
The letter pointed out that traffic volumes on the former US 41 through the city had dropped because of the bypass. With less traffic, there has been a drop in reportable crashes from three per year in 2007 and 2008 to zero from 2009 through the first six months of 2012.
Dorsey also wrote that with a 25 mph speed limit, the existing curb provides for deflection of vehicles the deviate from the roadway. Further the open graded area between the roadway and river provides a recovery area for vehicles that deviate from the roadway.
Continuing, Dorsey wrote that railings/beam guard can be considered a striking hazard to motorists. A vehicle jumping the curb and colliding with a beam guard could overturn or flip. This situation is decidedly less safe than allowing vehicles an open area to recover.
Dorsey also pointed out that there are a number of utilities underground at the location. Placement of a beam guard would require relocation of the utilities at significant cost and place ongoing financial burden on city taxpayers for replacement if the beam guard is damaged.
Dorsey wrote that for the reasons mentioned, a guard rail is not warranted and the department will not be installing one at this time.
Concliding, Dorsey wrote, At our meeting we also discussed other options to more clearly delinate the curve on the approach to the bridge. I have asked our supervisor Mike Frewerd to review the current marking and signing and provide recommendations. He has developed recommendations regarding improvements to the pavement marking and signing that we believe will be beneficial. He will be following up with your staff to discuss implementation of these enhancements.
Mayor Krizenesky told the Peshtigo Times he does not agree with the DOT letter and intends to pursue the issue further by contacting area state and federal legislators. Also, he is considering putting up a snow bank at the curve for the time being.
His wish for a snow bank may come quick as a snowstorm, expected to drop 6 to 10-inches of snow is scheduled Wednesday, Dec. 19 into Thursday, Dec. 20.
Regarding the bump on the eastbound approach of the new bridge, Dorsey wrote that the DOT is aware of the issue and intends to have the contractor diamond grind the bump to improve ride quality in the spring when the weather is conducive for this work.
Krizenesky agrees it should be done as quickly as possible and not to close the bridge when it is being done. I believe city residents are tired of using the by-pass to get from one side of the river to the other.