WSDOT Dealing With Safety Issues At Roundabout Projects In NCW
There are safety concerns at the two major road projects to build roundabouts in the region - in North Wenatchee and near Quincy.
Washington Department of Transportation spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says there have been a number of issues for drivers traveling through the construction areas.
One involves confusion with a temporary roundabout at Euclid Avenue and the eastbound on ramp to U.S. 2 and 97 in North Wenatchee.
"Our traffic team and that project team are monitoring that and working on ways to improve that for safety concerns," said Loebsack.
There are nine individual north-south detours resulting from the project
Crews are working six days a week on the North Wenatchee roundabout in order to have it completed within a 65-day time frame.
There's been some frustration locally that an overpass wasn't chosen instead for the intersection.
Representatives with the Washington State Department of Transportation say they've done studies that show roundabouts are effective at improving traffic flow, at least in the short term.
A Department of Transportation study in 2012 determined that a roundabout would be a lower cost interim solution that would provide an immediate improvement to traffic flow at the intersection of U.S. 2/97.
The cost of the roundabout will be $6.4 million, which is about one-fifth the cost of building an overpass at the intersection ($25-30 million).
Loebsack says another safety concern involves driver impatience in the construction zone at the roundabout project west of Quincy on SR 28.
There have been instances where drivers have run the red light set up to let alternate sides travel through the section where traffic is reduced to one lane.
"That wasn't as related to the traffic control at the intersection as much as someone not waiting for the signal to pass them, and then that clogging up the intersection, and then creating a pretty hazardous issue while we needed to clear traffic through there."
Loebsack says drivers jumping the red light are causing additional snarls where traffic already gets backed up under current conditions.
The roundabout west of Quincy won't be completed for several more weeks.
Grant County and the City of Quincy identified the intersection as a safety concern, with traffic backing up on White Trail Road to access SR 28.
White Trail Road is completely closed at the intersection, which means all traffic from the Wenatchee area will have to pass through Quincy to access SR 281 south to I-90.
The project was awarded $2.46 million in funding to Grant County, and the County requested that the project be managed by WSDOT.
The total cost of the project is roughly $2.8 million.