The $5 million WSDOT project for a pair of roundabouts on Highway 395 in Deer Park has been approved by department officials for the 2017-2019 biennium, the Deer Park Tribune reports.
Engineering for the roundabouts at Main Street and Crawford Avenue intersections will begin when funding becomes available in July of 2017. Construction is expected to begin in 2018. The roundabout project comes after 65 accidents were reported by Deer Park between 2010 and 2014.
“Our biggest concern is that drivers are making unsafe choices,” WSDOT spokesman Al Gilson said at a WSDOT open house earlier this year. “People are pulling out because they’re getting impatient at areas.”
The Tribune reported that WSDOT project manager Rebecca Fouts, who lives on the outskirts of Deer Park, said community reaction to the roundabouts showed about 20 percent of the Deer Park population against them and 20 percent in favor of them.
This project will also result in the closure of the highway intersection of Burroughs and Dalton Road, and a portion of Short Road will be paved between Burroughs and Main Street. The Burroughs and Dalton Road intersection could still remain open as negotiations are still open in Olympia. Deer Park Mayor Robert Whisman is supporting to keep the intersection open, the Tribune reports.
According to the WSDOT website, there are 120 roundabouts in the state and the department began constructing them in 1997. According to WSDOT handouts at the open house in Deer Park earlier this year, roundabouts cause an 89 percent reduction in crashes, have eight vehicle collision conflict points, create about 15-20 seconds of consistent predictable delay on 395 and reduce side street entering delay.
Roundabouts also accommodate U-turns, provide a southbound left onto Deer Park’s Main St. and reduces highway speeds – the WSDOT handouts said.
According to the Deer Park Tribune, the roundabouts on Highway 395 will be 140-feet in diameter and be slightly oval. Speed limits in roundabouts will be 20 m.p.h.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff