Chippewa Falls high-crash intersection to receive safety upgrades

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Chippewa Falls intersection deemed dangerous by city engineers is getting an upgrade.

The intersection of Wheaton and Coleman Streets is set to become a four-way stop following Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The council approved an ordinance allowing the installation of two permanent stop signs with flashing LED lights at the intersection near the Chippewa Falls High School.

City engineer Robbie Krejci says with school starting soon now is the time to make the intersection safer.

“Right now we feel it’s important before the school year gets underway to get the controlled changes completed prior to the school traffic,” explained Krejci.

Mayor Greg Hoffman says he's received a number of calls from neighbors living in the area who are “very concerned about students trying to cross.”

Hoffman says with hundreds of vehicles going through the intersection during a very short period of time it becomes treacherous for pedestrians.

“It's a wonder that we haven't had people run over or more accidents,” added Hoffman. “It's really a tough intersection.”

Dan Manny says he is one of those concerned neighbors who has tried reaching out to Hoffman.

“It’s a dangerous crossing especially near the school and it makes it that more dangerous,” said Manny. “I've escorted kids from the elementary school across the streets and very few people stop for the signs right now.”

Krejci says the concerns have prompted the city to approve the installation of the two stop signs.

“It's important we feel at this point since it's a new change to the intersection that the stop signs be the LED light stop signs in order to provide better visibility for the drivers traversing the intersection,” explained Krejci.

The intersection improvements amount to a total of $3,500 but with 21 crashes in three years Krejci says it's worth the cost.

“This has been an area of concern for a number of years at this point the accident rate has reached numbers that we think we feel it's time to look at some controlled changes to possibly reduce the number of accidents,” he added.

The update is set to take place next week, ahead of school starting, which Manny says is a relief.

“It needs to be done, it's overdue,” Manny said. “We can't be out here all the time so I'm hoping this will be a better alternative, a safer alternative.”

The city says it will continue to monitor the intersection and if there are still crashes it would consider other measures such as installing stoplights or a roundabout.

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