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Roundabouts Come Back to PdC Council

July 15, 2008

By Chris Hubbuch, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 15–PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. –The city’s Common Council is set to vote tonight for the second time this month on whether to undo its 2003 decision to allow the state to install roundabouts on Marquette Road.

A motion to nullify the earlier vote and terminate the city’s contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was voted down 9-2 on July 1. Mayor Karl Steiner vetoed that vote. If the council still has the two-thirds majority required to override the veto, plans are afoot to take the issue to a public referendum.

Clem Wachuta said Monday he and a group of citizens opposed to roundabouts would start a petition that either would force the council to reconsider or allow Prairie du Chien voters to decide.

Under Wisconsin law, citizens can petition to bring a proposed ordinance to a referendum. However, the law includes an exception when the proposed action would repeal an existing ordinance. It’s not clear whether that exception would apply in this case.

The DOT has used roundabouts in eastern Wisconsin and proposed them in Prairie du Chien because they are safer and more efficient than traditional intersections, and Marquette Road has an unusually high crash rate.

Steiner said they will impede oversized loads, hurt the economy and the majority of people he’s surveyed oppose them.

At stake is nearly $500,000 worth of plans the city may have to pay for if it backs out of the DOT contract.

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