The city of Arlington has secured funding for a roundabout near the Arlington Safeway that officials hope will improve safety for cars and pedestrians.
The city will receive $1.6 million from the Transportation Improvement Board assuming that the board’s budget is approved as part of the Washington state budget by the state legislature.
The roundabout is planned for 204th Street and 77th Avenue (which becomes Olympic Place north of 204th Street), which is the intersection that is near businesses like Burger King and AutoZone auto parts.
“This has been an area that we have been looking at for a number of years to improve,” said Kristin Banfield, communications manager for the city of Arlington.
In particular the city hopes to improve safety.
“It does have many more collisions that occur when compared against other areas,” she said.
Drivers turning onto 204th often have to make turns across many lanes of traffic that does not stop.
“We think this is going to make vehicles safer and pedestrians safer as well,” said Banfield.
The roundabout will provide some areas in the center of the street where pedestrians can safely stop so they don't have to get across the street all at once.
“Roundabouts also tend to slow down traffic, so reducing speed will improve pedestrian safety,” said Banfield.
The road’s speed limit is already set at 25 miles per hour but some drivers go faster on that road, said Banfield.
A roundabout was chosen as the city's preferred solution at the intersection because it was able to move traffic throughout the corridor faster than other options.
“We did look at other interim solutions, such as stop signs or a stop light,” said Banfield. “For both of those, our models showed that traffic would back up into Highway 9, and that is already an area that sees congestion, so that was not going to help anyone."
In addition to the $1.6 million from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board, $950,000 more in funds will come from mitigation fees from recent development in the area, said Banfield.
Arlington, like most cities in the area, collects fees on most new construction for the purpose of transportation improvement.
In total the project is expected cost $2.55 million.
“We do have to do revisions to this road, so it does cost more than some would expect,” said Banfield.
The cost estimate also includes any possible future costs as well. “If gas prices go up, so does the cost of asphalt for example,” said Banfield.
Banfield said the city hopes to complete design work for the roundabout in 2019 and begin construction in 2020.
“We’re really grateful for the grant award. It will be a significant improvement for the safety of this corridor,” she said.