When State DOTs Make Roads Dangerous in the Name of Safety

A terrible car collision in Wisconsin on Friday has orphaned five children.

A couple was killed here Friday, leaving five children orphans. Photo: Fox 6 Now

The Wisconsin DOT wants to widen this road in the name of safety, instead of lowering the speed limit. Photo: Fox 6 Now

Their parents struck a utility poll on Highway J, or Highway 164, in Richfield Township. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A group of homeowners along this road have been trying to warn officials that something like this was bound to happen. For years they pressed the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, unsuccessfully, to lower the speed limit on the road. A representative of this group, the Highway J Coalition, wrote to Network blog the Political Environment that he thinks he knows why WisDOT is ignoring them:

For the past 15 years, many citizens in this area have asked the WisDOT to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph. Based upon past, proven experience (during the time when Highway 164 speed limit was temporarily reduced to 45 mph for five months back in 2000), the number of traffic accidents dropped by nearly 80%!

However, the WisDOT roadbuilding bureaucrats have refused to lower the speed limit to 45 mph (which would only cost $8,000 to do according to their own estimates) because they need these accident statistics to justify their unnecessary and unwanted $16 million Highway 164 expansion project (which will make matters much worse with even more deadly traffic accidents at higher speeds).

Pretty depressing commentary on the state of transportation planning at some state DOTs.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Better Cities & Towns! offers a variety of ways to get Americans walking again. The Invisible Visible Man ponders whether high-speed roads or car-clogged streets are the bigger deterrent to biking in New York. And Transport Providence dismantles the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s arguments against protected bikeways on a local corridor.