By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SULTAN — Drivers should expect a week of traffic woes on U.S. 2.
The state Department of Transportation is narrowing the highway to one lane so a roundabout can be built on Rice Road near Sultan.
The closure is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Sunday, until 6 a.m. April 6. After that, the roundabout will become part of the highway, making it the second roundabout on the highway. The other one is located in Wenatchee.
Crews are set to work on a 1,600-foot stretch which would cause significant backups and 90-minute delays, Pembroke said. About 14,000 vehicles go through that stretch on a daily basis, according to the Transportation Department’s figures.
The work is weather dependent, and will be rescheduled if there’s heavy rain, spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.
A flagger will direct traffic, she said.
The Department of Transportation chose to start the work this coming weekend, because schools are on spring break. And, in an attempt to reduce traffic, the agency is also asking anyone who can work from home to do so, Pembroke said.
The Transportation Department also is asking commercial trucks to use U.S. 97 and the I-90 instead.
Another closure is planned in the summer to add a second layer of pavement.
A roundabout was chosen for the intersection because state traffic planners believe it will prevent serious collisions among vehicles entering and leaving U.S. 2.
According to the Transportation Department’s numbers, there have been 19 collisions from 2005 to 2009 in this area. Of those, 11 involved turning vehicles. It was also in this location where Lt. Bruce Ramsey, who worked at the Monroe Correctional Complex, died when his motorcycle collided with another vehicle in February 2010.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.