An ad hoc committee on County Road K presented its findings to Dayton’s Plan Commission Tuesday, Dec. 10.
For more than two years, the committee has been examining the section of County K which runs from just south of Faith Community Church, past the Red Mill, Little Hope and Parfreyville to Spencer Lake Road.
“A traffic count for this stretch of highway was arranged and found that traffic has increased substantially since 1997,” according to the committee’s report.
Town Chairman Chris Klein noted an average of 2,000 cars and trucks per day travel that stretch of County K, about twice the traffic count of any town or county road in Dayton.
Compounding the issues associated with relatively heavy traffic on a rural road are two intersections.
County K has a sharp curve at Red Mill, where Crystal Road intersects at an oblique angle with County K.
Members of the ad hoc committee noted drivers often fail to stop at the stop sign, even though they must look back to see oncoming traffic on County K. About 200 feet south of Crystal Road, Danielson Road intersects County K, creating a triangle.
Another unconventional intersection is located 1.2 miles southwest of the Red Mill.
From Parfreyville Road to Spencer Lake Road, County K runs along a relatively straight western route. But at Spencer Lake Road, County K has another sharp curve to the southwest. At that curve, County K intersects at an acute angle with Spencer Lake Road to the south, with Rural Road to the west and Waids Road to the north.
Less than 20 feet from the Rural Road and County K intersection, there is a bridge. At the west end of the bridge, Smith Road curves from the north into Rural Road, which continues to the west.
“All of those intersections are safety concerns,” Klein said, adding that intersections onto major roads are now almost all designed at 90-degree angles.
Jane Haasch, who is a member of both the Plan Commission and the ad hoc committee, sugggested placing yellow, flashing lights at the Spencer Lake Road and Danielson Road intersections with County K.
Klein responded that the town had changed placement of the stop signs at Danielson Road and added a second stop sign on the left side of the road.
“I think it’s an enforcement issue,” said Steve Suhs, a member of the Plan Commission. “Many of those people are rolling through that stop sign every day. They know the stop sign is there.”
County K survey
In addition to a series of public meetings in 2011, the committee received more than 300 responses to a 2012 survey.
Ad hoc committee member Bob Van Epps said 80 percent of the survey respondents live near County K, while 20 percent reside on County K.
He said 97 percent of the respondents drive on County K and 60 percent walk or bike on the highway.
Seventy percent said they wanted to improve safety and preserve the natural beauty and history of the area, 66 percent want biking and walking trails which link the rural area to the city, 40 percent want lower speed limits and 28 percent want a less-traveled road.
To meet these goals, the ad hoc committee’s report recommended that “existing County Highway K would be replaced by an alternative route avoiding the Spencer Lake Road to Crystal Road area.”
Suhs asked committee members what they meant by an alternative route, whether they were recommending the county construct a new road or relocate County K to an existing town road.
Haasch said the committee recommended further study of the area and its potential for future development before making concrete recommendations to the Waupaca County Highway Department.
Klein noted much of the new residential development in Dayton was expected to occur in or near that section of County K. He said relocating County K was unlikely to change significantly the traffic patterns on that section of road.
Klein asked the committee to present recommendations for County K at a future meeting of the Plan Commission.