Walker mayor: Roundabout will be safer

The intersection of Remembrance Road and Wilson Avenue NW in Walker. (Dec. 8, 2014)

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Monday, drivers had one last chance to speak up before crews make major changes to a busy intersection in Walker.

That intersection is of Wilson Avenue (M-11) and Remembrance Road NW. The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to turn the intersection, which currently has traffic lights, into a roundabout. The last public open house to review the project was held Monday afternoon.

Adam Glanville said he drives the intersection nearly every day to get home.

“During morning and evening rush hour traffic, it’s really hard to get out onto Wilson, especially if you’re trying to turn left,” he told 24 Hour News 8 at the open house.

Glanville was one of a handful of drivers who wanted one last look at the plans for the intersection.

“It’s going to get worse,” he said. “Another concern is there’s a lot of young drivers within the next few years — my son included — that are going to be trying to get out into this traffic and they’re not going to have the experience to deal with it.”

But MDOT engineers and city officials say the intersection is the perfect spot for a roundabout.

“Our first and foremost concern is safety, and we know that the roundabout is really going to mitigate some of these accidents,” Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga said. “The geometry of this intersection is very difficult. We can’t change that. …The elevation of this intersection makes it difficult to see oncoming traffic. There have been a lot of accidents here.”

Officials say the roundabout will make the intersection safer, reducing overall crashes by about 85% and deadly wrecks by 90%.

Construction is set to start in April. Officials hope to have the roundabout in place before school starts in the fall of 2015 so drivers can become accustomed to it before school buses add to traffic.

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