Work to start on roundabout at Arlington intersection

ARLINGTON — The state Department of Transportation is scheduled in the spring to start construction on a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 531.

Interwest Construction of Burlington is the winner of a $5 million contract to remodel the intersection.

State transportation officials estimate that 17,000 drivers use the intersection each day. Collisions at the intersection have left many people injured, project engineer Dave Crisman said. Most of the crashes occurred when drivers were attempting to make left turns at the intersection.

“The roundabout is going to make it a whole lot easier to turn,” Crisman said in a press release. “Not to mention, keep everyone moving through the intersection with little or no delay.”

Beloved in some circles and scorned in others, roundabouts are fast becoming an alternative to traffic lights and stop signs in the state.

Of the 218 roundabouts statewide, 57 of those are on state highways.

The roundabout to be built in Arlington is designed to handle large trucks, buses and fire trucks, officials said.

Arlington’s population is expected to increase, and even if a lot of development occurs near the intersection, a roundabout there is projected to work efficiently for several decades, transportation officials said.

The city doesn’t have much say in the state’s plans for the roundabout because it’s at the intersection of two state highways, city public works director James Kelly said. Still, city officials are supportive of the proposal.

Roundabouts are the clear winners over traffic signals for fuel efficiency, pedestrian safety and fewer delays on the road, Kelly said.

For more information about the project, including a video about how to drive through a roundabout, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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