By Amy Daybert Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — The design work for two roundabouts on Highway 92 is well under way, according to the state Department of Transportation.
A single-lane roundabout at 99th Avenue NE and another at 113th Avenue NE are scheduled to go out to bid for construction by spring 2013. Construction is set to begin that summer.
Project engineer Sharif Shaklawun told a group of about 20 people Tuesday night at Lake Stevens High School why the state is building two of the structures on Highway 92.
“The purpose of the roundabouts is to reduce potential accidents,” Shaklawun said.
Seventeen collisions occurred between 2006 and 2010 at the Highway 92 and 99th Avenue NE intersection, Shaklawun added. Another 25 collisions occurred during the same time period at the Highway 92 and 113th Avenue NE intersection.
Between 16,500 and 21,000 vehicles use Highway 92 near the two intersections each day, according to the state. Both roundabouts are being designed to help smooth traffic flow and provide access to Highway 92 from side streets, Shaklawun said. “The way we designed the roundabouts are for all types of vehicles,” he added.
Jim Tribon and his wife, Karen, live on Callow Road and are concerned about traffic congestion on the highway. Gravel trucks frequent the highway, Tribon said. He is worried that trucks forced to travel at slower speeds through the two roundabouts will lead to traffic delays close to his home.
“What happens when this economy picks up and all the crushed rock comes out of Granite Falls?” said Tribon, 74. “It’s ill-conceived. They want to create a traffic jam and slow traffic down.”
Roundabouts are intended to slow traffic, but not stop it, Shaklawun said.
Vehicles driving through the circles don’t need to stop unless other traffic is present. Other cars can safely enter the circle when gaps in traffic occur.
Lake Stevens resident Joan Pray, 64, said she understood how the roundabouts might improve access to Highway 92.
“I definitely have a personal interest in this because a lot of time I sit at the intersection of 113th going to work,” she said “Sometimes I sit for seven minutes trying to get out one direction.”
The city of Lake Stevens supports construction of the two roundabouts, city public works director Mick Monken said.
“The complaint I’ve heard about these roundabouts is why can’t we get them sooner,” he said. “People know it’s coming.”
The state has $4.9 million available for the project. Construction of the roundabouts, each set to measure 130-feet in diameter, may include road closures for up to two weeks, Shaklawun said. The state will announce closures once the construction is scheduled.
“We don’t have a final decision yet,” he said. “We’re still developing plans. We think it will be a one season job.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about roundabouts and why they are used from the state Department of Transportation: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Safety/roundabouts.