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Turn lane favored over signals at Ellsworth corner

Any upgrade to the Main and Piety streets intersection in Ellsworth might involve widening and adding a turn lane to the latter street rather than installing traffic signals at the corner, as was suggested earlier.

"We'd like to look at other options first," said Greg Helgeson, traffic safety engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (DOT) Eau Claire office, during a Pierce County Traffic Safety Commission meeting Wednesday.

The intersection's location at the bottom of a hill isn't ideal, Helgeson said as one reason for pursuing alternatives to the signals. He didn't rule them out completely, but regarded them as a "last resort" at this point.

Instead, the engineer envisioned the Piety Street approach from the south being widened and "getting it away from the building on the southeast corner," he said, referring to rental property there. That way, a right turn lane could be added to relieve some of the congestion.

"It's really not a safety issue," he said, explaining, "it's a delay or inconvenience issue."

Helgeson reminded the commission the matter had been brought to the members' attention this fall, after the village was contacted with a request for the signals. He agreed to examine possible improvements at the site further and perhaps have more information by next spring.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Dec. 22.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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