The city of Arlington’s work on a new roundabout for the 204th Street and 77th Avenue intersection is expected to be complete early this year.
“Contractors will be off the street by January,” said Jim Kelly, Public Works director with the city of Arlington.
Although they will still be doing some landscaping work and return in the spring for an asphalt lift.
After that the city plans to hold a grand opening for the new intersection.
The project was meant to begin this summer but was delayed for three months, said Kelly.
While construction is going on commuters may have to take detours around the area as some routes will be blocked off.
“A flagger will control traffic during workday hours,” said Kelly.
The roundabout is meant to make the intersection safer and easier to navigate for cars. The site has seen two fatalities and numerous car crashes in recent years, said Kelly.
“Mostly it is due to the increase in traffic. There are so many cars going on that east-west route,” said Kelly.
It is hard for cars turning onto the street for that east-west route to find an opening, he said, “so they end up having to take some risky maneuvers.”
A decade ago the intersection didn’t have a lot of traffic, however it has seen increased car numbers because of business and residential growth in the area.
“There is a lot of traffic for the grocery, restaurants and businesses in that area,” said Kelly.
Growth in the county also resulted in and increase in traffic using that route to get into the city, he said, which has further increased the number of cars using 204th Street.
“We always planned to do safety improvements for this road,” said Kelly, and the increased traffic has made the project necessary.
The roundabout will make it easier to turn on the road for those trying to get onto 204th Street and roundabouts also tend to slow traffic down, said Kelly, which will also help with safety.
The city considered a four-way stop and a streetlight intersection as well, but those options wouldn’t have moved cars through the intersection fast enough, said Kelly.
“The cars would back up onto SR-9 with both of those,” he said.
The construction is projected to cost $3.6 million, with the biggest portion of that funding coming from a $1.6 million grant from the Transportation Improvement Board of Washington state.
The Puget Sound Regional Council and city of Arlington funds are also going into the project, as well as Arlington growth impact fees, which is largely money paid to the city by incoming new development to pay for new infrastructure.
Pedestrian lights are also going to be added as part of the project, which are meant to improve pedestrian safety.
New streetlights are expected to be brighter as well, said Kelly.
The Arlington Arts Council is assisting with artwork planned for the center of the roundabout.
“That will serve as an entry point into the community there,” said Kelly.