By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
By this fall, it should be easier for drivers to turn onto or drive across Highway 92 in Lake Stevens — and safer, too.
Work begins Monday on two roundabouts along the dangerous stretch of Highway 92 between Highway 9 and N. Machias Road.
One roundabout is planned for the intersection of Highway 92 and 99th Avenue NE. The other will be built at 113th Avenue NE, not far from Lake Stevens High School.
A combined 42 accidents took place at these two intersections, less than a mile apart, from 2006 to 2010, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Roundabouts slow down traffic and provide a barrier to prevent head-on and broadside collisions.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used. Roundabouts reduced all collisions by 37 percent.
Still, roundabouts improve traffic flow by keeping cars moving, according to the state and other experts. Studies by the Federal Highway Administration have shown that roundabouts move traffic 30 to 50 percent faster than regular intersections, according to the state.
Roundabouts operate similar to making a right turn onto a street from a driveway. Drivers entering the roundabout yield to those within the circle approaching from the left. If no one is coming, the driver does not have to stop before entering the roundabout.
Graham Construction of Seattle and Marshbank Construction of Lake Stevens have been hired to do the work for a combined $7.7 million.
Drivers will encounter nighttime lane closures at the intersections over the summer while work is taking place, with flagging Monday through Thursday evenings.
Highway 92 will be entirely closed through this section for up to nine days in mid-August when the roundabouts are put into their final configurations. Detours will posted.
The roundabouts are expected to be completed by early September.
For more information:
Lake Stevens projects:
Benefits of roundabouts:
How to drive a roundabout:
Flashing amber lights to warn drivers of red
Drivers in parts of Snohomish County will soon get an extra heads-up that a green light is turning red.
Beginning Monday, the state will activate new signs that use flashing amber lights to warn drivers when a traffic signal is about to change. The signs are being installed in selected spots on three highways in Snohomish County and one in south King County in an effort to reduce high-speed rear-end accidents.
“We’ve seen a reduction in collisions in other areas of the state with these advanced warning signs,” said Mike Swires, a traffic engineer with the state Department of Transportation. “We think these could make a difference in this area as well.”
Drivers traveling the posted speed limit who see the flashing amber lights will not make the green light down the road.
The lights cost a combined $167,000. They’ve been installed at U.S. 2 at Fryelands Blvd. SE; Highway 522 at Paradise Lake Road, and Highway 9 at 56th Street SE.
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