Project schedule for city street safety improvements

The schedule for the road safety improvements in the City of Sun Prairie began with last Wednesday’s public meeting and will conclude when construction occurs in 2023.

Just two individuals dialed into the Wednesday July 6 Zoom public informational meeting for roadway safety improvements planned for 2023 as part of cost-sharing agreement between the City of Sun Prairie and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Three signalized intersections on South Grand Avenue — with Blue Heron, Brooks Drive/Hoepker Road, and Prairie Lakes Drive — will receive upgrades and experience partial lane closures when retro-reflective plates that are yellow in color are installed behind the signals there to improve visibility.

The intersection of Linnerud and South Bird will receive two pedestrian refuge islands to be constructed in Bird Street north of Linnerud and one south of Linnerud.

Other traffic signal and lane improvements are being planned at West Main and Walker Way and West Main and Bird. Representatives from KL Engineering — who are administering the design contract for WisDOT — said that minimal right-of-way acquisition will be needed for the lane upgrades which will serve to dull sharp turn corners at the intersections.

Specific improvements at each intersection include:

Main and Walker — Improve left turn offset; upgrade eastbound and westbound signals by placing signal heads over each lane with a yellow flashing arrow; upgrade street lighting; curb ramp improvements for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bird and Linnerud — As previously outlined, installation of eight-foot median pedestrian refuges on each leg and improving street lighting.

West Main and Bird — Retroreflective back pates; eastbound and westbound traffic signal upgrades with signal placement over each lane with the addition of a flashing yellow turn signal; upgrade street lighting.

Final plans are due in to be submitted in February, with intended construction in summer of 2023.

City Director of Public Service Adam Schleicher responded to one question about the timing of the project in conjunction with the Ruby Lane-West Main Street signal project. Schleicher said that even though they are separate projects, the contractor will have to coordinate construction with the planned construction of the Main Street improvements. The Ruby-Main signals will be timed and sequenced with other Main Street signals so they result in the smooth flow of West Main Street traffic, according to Schleicher.

McIlroy wants closer look at Bird-Linnerud

Distirct 1 Alder Terry McIlroy said she wants to take a closer look at the data surrounding the basis for the Linnerud-Bird pedestrian upgrade.

Schleicher said the city experienced five vehicle-pedestrian crashes at the intersection from 2015-19. “I think what was significant is there were two fairly serious pedestrian crashes here,” Schleicher said, pointing to the intersection during the Zoom meeting.

“I go to the library on a regular basis and I take South Street to Linnerud and Linnerud through that [South Bird] intersection to the library. I have never seen a backup of traffic there,” McIlroy said. “The only reason I’m questioning this is I’m wondering what the cost of changes to that intersection are going to cost the city at this point. Four crashes in five years is not a lot why? Why would the crashes happen? You know where I’m going, Adam?”

Schleicher said he did know where she was going, but pointed out that signals are not being installed there — just the pedestrian refuge islands. Using a scale of A through D to measure the severity of crashes — and noting B and C severity — Schleicher said adding the pedestrian refuges and increasing the street lighting at the intersection should reduce the severity and the number of vehicle-pedestrian crashes at the intersection.

The fact that the crashes happened at different times of the day is also notable, Schleicher said.

“I just I don’t understand how anybody can get hit there other than the fact that we’ve got drivers that have no no regard whatsoever for people,” McIlroy said.

The city is paying about 10%, or $92,304, of the total project cost that is more than $900,000.