First phase of construction at Northland/Richmond starts in Appleton

The intersection at Northland and Richmond in Appleton, where a roundabout will be added, as seen on August 16th 2016. (WLUK/Alexa Santos)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Drivers in Appleton should start preparing for some headaches.

This week is the first step in a long process of construction at the Northland Avenue and Richmond Street intersection.

The city describes the intersection as the city's most dangerous.

A long awaited construction project has begun.

Walt Jensen, owner of Reveal Fitness, said, "I'm excited for it."

The intersection of Northland and Richmond has stood out to the city of Appleton.

Mike Hardy, Asst. Traffic Director with the City of Appleton, said, "[The intersection has a] very high accident rate, a lot of crashes compared to the amount of traffic that's going through there."

To fix the issues, the city, county, and state are working together to build a roundabout. But not before some bumps in the road-- starting this week with utility work, causing some lane closures.

Project leaders say the utility work near the intersection could take several months, but that the real change will happen next June, when the entire intersection is shut down for construction of the new roundabout.

Kim Seidler, a franchise owner of Cousins Subs, said, "I'm concerned what it's going to do to my business. I'm just going to have to come up with new, innovative ways to draw my guests in."

Guests that may struggle getting into the Northland Mall and businesses near the intersection while it's shut down.

But business owners say the upgrade will be worth it in the end.

Seidler said, "I'm leery myself sometimes at this particular intersection, because it's so dangerous and there's so many accidents. So I want people to be safe, and I think the roundabout is what's going to take care of that."

Jensen said, "Having all the traffic coming through, we get a lot of people just backing up, and at a busy time of the day, it's so many people in the parking lot that it creates an unsafe place. So we're just looking to get that cleaned up, and make it a little safer in here, and for the people at the intersection."

Hardy said, "Concrete doesn't last forever. Eventually we grow out of our clothes, we grow out of our roads."

Officials say the temporary traffic headaches are a necessary evil to fix this intersection and keep it up with the times.

Construction of the roundabout is expected to be complete by next fall.

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