An ad hoc committee in Dayton has recommended that the county build a roundabout near the Red Mill when it reconstructs part of County Road K.
The roundabout proposal is part of plan that seeks to realign two intersections on County K, widen the road to meet current standards, and provide a walking and biking trail along County K from State Highway 22 to Rural Road.
The committee presented its report and recommendations for County K to the Dayton Planning Commission Tuesday, March 11.
Currently, County K runs south from State 22, then curves west near the Red Mill. At the curve, County K intersects to the southeast with Crystal Road. About 200 feet further west, County K intersects with Danielson Road. The three roads form a triangle.
“Acquire available property on or near the triangle in front of the Red Mill in order to construct a roundabout,” the committee recommended.
Bob Van Epps, a member of the ad hoc committee, estimated the roundabout would require the purchase of about two parcels.
It also recommended terminating Crystal Road into a cul-de-sac in front of the Red Mill and diverting Crystal Road traffic onto Danielson Road.
Under the ad hoc committee’s proposal, Danielson Road would intersect with County K at a roundabout.
Traffic coming from State 22 on County K would enter the roundabout, then either follow it around to continue on County K or turn off on Danielson and follow that to Crystal Road.
“This would eliminate all cross traffic in the area where accidents have been prone to happen and stop signs have been disregarded,” according to the committee’s report.
The report notes that creating a cul-de-sac at the end of Crystal Road would allow for the possible expansion of Nelson Park.
“Whether or not the dam is replaced, the entire area to the east of County K and adjacent to the Red Mill could be a very desirable park area,” the report said. “The present small and difficult parking area at Nelson Park, that can only be used for half the year, could be eliminated, allowing only foot traffic down to that area with increased picnic area while providing canoe, kayak and tubing access.”
The committee also recommended changes at another complicated intersection.
At a point where County K curves to the southwest, it intersects with Rural Road, Spencer Lake Road and Waids Road, all within 100 feet. About 20 feet from the intersection of County K and Rural Road, Smith Road intersects with Rural Road.
The committee recommended that the roads be realigned so that all the intersections are at right angles to each other and to make Spencer Lake Road connect straight to Smith Road in order to provide a direct route to State 22.
The proposed bike path would run on the river side of County K. It would be 10-feet wide, separated from the roadway by a 2-foot barrier.
There would also be curb and gutter installed on County K, along the river side of the highway.
Steve Suhs, a member of the Planning Commission, asked if there was any justification for the cost of a roundabout at an intersection of a town road and a county road.
Ad hoc committee member Dave Lain said major population growth is expected for the area once the economy starts to improve.
Town Chairman Chris Klein said that while he supports the proposals for a bike path, curb and gutter and safer intersections, he is “least comfortable about a roundabout at Danielson Road.”
“If we’re promoting the rural character of the area, I’m not sure putting a roundabout in the middle of the village of Little Hope accomplishes that,” Klein said.
Lain said the roundabout would eliminate the need for stop signs at the County K/Danielson Road intersection, while slowing down traffic on County K.
Suhs suggested that many of the same safety objectives could be realized without a roundabout simply by terminating Crystal Road in a cul-de-sac and making Danielson intersect with County K at a right angle.
“I think your concept would probably work for another 10 years, but looking out in the future it may not,” said Jane Haasch, who is a member of both the Planning Commission and the ad hoc committee.
Town Clerk Judy Suhs said she was concerned that some County K residents could have the bike path located only a few feet from their homes, even if it is located within the road right-of-way.
“I support a bike path. And I support an off-the-road bike path if it fits within the existing road right-of-way,” Klein said. “I don’t support expanding the right-of-way.”
When the Planning Commission voted to make its recommendations to the Dayton Town Board, it followed most of the ad hoc committee’s recommendations.
The commission recommended terminating Crystal Road and rerouting traffic onto Danielson Road.
It recommended that the intersections with County K approach at right angles and that all vision obstructions be removed.
The commission also noted the ad hoc committee’s “to construct or look into the feasibility of a roundabout.” However, the commission did not specifically support or oppose a roundabout.
Finally, the commission recommended, “The existing culvert over the Crystal River should be replaced with a bridge wide enough to allow for bike and pedestrian traffic in addition to traffic lanes. The recommended design would allow pedestrians and river traffic to cross under the new bridge rather than crossing the roadway.”
Klein said the county plans to break ground on the County K project in 2017, with land acquisitions and utility relocation in 2016 and design work to begin in 2015.