Crashes continue in Appleton roundabout

A new roundabout at the intersection of Northland Avenue and Richmond Street in Appleton opens to traffic Sept. 1, 2017. (WLUK/Jerry Van Handel)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- A roundabout was added to make one of Appleton's most dangerous intersections safer. However, the number of crashes continues to add up.

The roundabout in question is at the intersection of Northland Avenue (Hwy. OO) and Richmond Street in Appleton. Since September, there have been almost 80 crashes recorded at the roundabout.

We first told you about the issue in the fall. Since then the crashes have continued. -- to be exact, 77 crashes have happened at this roundabout since it opened five months ago.

Sgt. Dave Lund of the Appleton Police Dept. told FOX 11 News the number is shocking.

"We don't like that number either. It's much too high for us," he said.

Lund told the silver lining is that only one of those crashes resulted in an injury.

"The reality is roundabouts aren't supposed to be the cure to eliminate all crashes. They're supposed to do exactly what this roundabout is doing, which is eliminating the serious, injury-causing accidents," he explained.

So what's causing the crashes?

"Primary factor seems to be failure to yield. Some of that is speed," Lund told FOX 11.

City leaders told us some of it is not realizing you have to yield to all lanes coming from the left.

The city installed new signage Thursday to help with the confusion.

"A good reminder that when you're coming up to the roundabout you always need to yield to the traffic that's already in there," explained city communications coordinator Chad Doran.

Police officers have also increased patrols nearby.

"As you might imagine, having a squad car around makes people drive a little bit slower," said Lund.

Doran told FOX 11 there are plans for a renewed educational campaign in the works too.

"We're going to roll out some new social media things that, hopefully, will reach as many people as we can," he said.

Doran told us once you're in a roundabout, it's too late to think twice about what lane you need to be in.

"What we want to do is get to drivers when they're not behind the wheel. so they can see the correct way to navigate a roundabout," he explained.

Lund said it's also important to remember to always give semi trucks the right of way in a roundabout.

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