Fatal crash may bring back rumble strips

July 19, 2018

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

TOWN OF MORRSISON – The fatal crash at the intersection of County highways G and Z that killed two motorists on Sunday, July 8, will likely bring back transverse rumble strips on County Z on both approaches to the intersection – despite objections in the past from nearby residents who don’t like the sound of vehicles driving across them.

Paul Fontecchio, the Brown County Director of Public Works, said he goes to the scene of every fatal crash in the county on the following day to see what highway design factors might have contributed to the tragedy.

“Every time there’s a fatal accident, I go and personally look at the intersection, just to make sure I’m not missing something,” Fontecchio said.

There had been rumble strips on County Z on both approaches to the intersection. But neighbors complained they didn’t like hearing cars go over them; they approach the town; the town asked the county to remove them – which the county did.

They were removed in 2015. Since then, there have been 11 car-deer crashes near the intersection, a serious injury crash this past May, and the fatality last week, according to Captain Dan Sandberg, head of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department patrol division.

Fontecchio said that proactive, removing rumble strips near intersections, will likely be reversed.

“Statewide, we’ve increased dramatically the amount of centerline and shoulder rumbled strips … and at the same time, statewide, Brown County included, there’s been a dramatic reduction of what they call ‘transverse’ rumble strips,” Fontecchio said.

He said the removal of rumble strips on approaches to stop signs at high volume rural intersections is basically due to noise complaints from adjacent homeowners. The state Department of Transportation confirmed that as the situation statewide.

“When I first started here, we were filling them in at the request of municipalities,” Fontecchio said. “But I will tell you now that I am re-examining the use of those [transverse rumble strips] for Brown County.”

He said the fatal crash at County PP and Man-Cal Road, which killed Travis Krahn when a driver on Man-Cal ran the stop sign, changed his mind on the need for rumble strips.

The week after Krahn died, Fontecchio ordered rumble strips on Man-Cal Road on both sides of PP.

There were also similar fatalities at County U and County EE, on the Brown-Outagamie County line, and now the July 8 crash, where a motorcycle westbound on County Z ran the stop sign favoring traffic on County G, and the motorcycle hit the driver’s side door of the southbound car at a high rate of speed.

Both the motorcycle operator, 38-year old Thomas Hein of Green Bay, and the driver of the car, 58-year old Paul Schumacher of Mount Pleasant, died at the scene.

Please see the complete story in the July 19, 2018 edition of The Brillion News. 

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