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Merging Battle: Commission Recommends Moving Merge Farther From Bridge

 

When it comes to Sturgeon Bay traffic pet peeves, the Hardee's intersection and the difficult left turn from Egg Harbor Road onto the highway are probably on most drivers' short lists.

Another one that's been getting attention from the Door County Highway Safety Commission is the two-lanes-into-one merge for northbound traffic just south of the Bayview Bridge, a configuration that sometimes results in two vehicles jockeying for a single lane as they speed toward the span.

Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Tony Depies, a member of the Highway Safety Commission, says a longtime debate has been over what's "normal," the left lane being dropped -- which is the way it is now -- or the right lane. 

Depies says it's ultimately the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's call, but the commission is proposing a plan that would move back the merge point by about a half-mile and discontinue the right lane instead of the left.

Depies says the issue isn't a top priority for state transportation officials because there haven't been many accidents there, and that's what they use for prioritizing projects.

"The real dilemma for the DOT is there aren't accidents," says Depies. "Lots and lots and lots of near-misses and somebody usually gives in soon enough so that there isn't an accident, but everyone can cite near-misses."

Depies says the DOT is currently reviewing the commission's proposal but says they're under no obligation to follow the panel's recommendations.

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