A state Department of Transportation sign engineer told the lake district stop signs on low-volume rural roads can be as close as two feet from the edge of the pavement.
The Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes District presented that information to Dayton Town Chairman Chris Klein when it met Saturday, May 4.
Klein plans to move stop signs throughout Dayton because he believes the law requires them to be at least 12 feet from the edge of the pavement.
A group of residents on the Chain O’ Lakes are opposed to the plan.
County Supervisor Bob Ellis and lake district board member John Hebbring contacted Matt Rauch with the DOT on Friday, May 3.
That same day, Rauch emailed a memo to them regarding the placement of signs.
In the email, Rauch said that for low-volume town roads, “the offset for signs can go down to two feet (from roadway edge to roadside edge of sign) to compensate for vegetation. This would include stop signs.”
Rauch said even if the road is not designated as low-volume under state and federal guidelines, signs can be placed between six and 12 feet from the roadway.
“It is extremely disappointing that the town of Dayton did not make a simple phone call to explore alternatives to spending Dayton taxpayer dollars,” Ellis and Hebbring said in a May 3 email to Dayton residents. “This is why many residents question Dayton township officials when they choose to spend taxpayer money on projects that other townships would not.”
“The information in that email is misleading,” Klein told the County Post.
He noted that the roads in question are not low-volume, rural roads but are classified as urban highways due to the volume of traffic.
Traffic volume along some of the roads where Klein plans to move stop signs is in excess of an average of 400 cars per day.
In a May 4 email to Rauch, Klein said, “The roads are residential streets in a resort area that have significant volumes in summer months and lower volumes at other times of the year.”
Many of the roads where Klein believes stop signs should be relocated have no curb and gutters and minimal shoulders.
Klein said some of the stop signs have clear zones between zero and 20 feet.
Klein was scheduled to meet with a state DOT official and Waupaca County Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber on Tuesday, May 7. He is seeking clarification on the placement of stop signs.
“I feel if we had not made a big stink, Chris would have simply moved all those stop signs,” Hebbring told the County Post.
“If I read the law correctly, it specifically seeks to protect trees and shrubbery,” Hebbring added. “I believe every stop sign in the town of Dayton is within the law.”