Roundabout headed for Ishpeming intersection

One of Ishpeming’s busiest intersections is now in line for a full-scale makeover after years of countless accidents.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is now in the infancy stages of a project that would create a roundabout at the corner of US 41 and 2nd street in 2016. There have been a combined 71 crashes at the intersections of both 2nd street and 3rd street, and US 41, including 2 fatalities.

“For several years, this has shown up on the ‘Statewide High Crash Report’ as a location that if you look at it in comparison to other intersections all over the state that are similar, that it has a higher instance of crashes. That prompted us to take a look at things that we can do to try and improve the safety of these intersections,” explained Andy Sikkema, Manager of the Transportation Service Center in Ishpeming.

MDOT recently received approval for close to $2 million for the undertaking after competing for state safety funding. These types of roundabouts have received praise from Transportation Departments on a local and national level.

“We’re using them considerably more. They’re being considered at a lot of different locations because of the ability to reduce the number of crashes, to reduce the severity of crashes, and also to reduce delays at intersections,” Sikkema noted.

The proposed plan would also divide a portion of US 41 between 2nd and 3rd streets with a median, creating two separate lanes.

Because the move would no longer allow drivers to turn left onto 3rd street from US 41, a paved road connecting 2nd and 3rd streets would be installed on the south side of the adjacent railroad tracks. This will allow businesses along US 41 to maintain the same volume of business without putting drivers in harms’ way.