News

Road work ahead; expect delays

A PSE crew moves poles and wires last week as traffic moves in one lane on Highway 525 north of Freeland. Construction-related delays in the Greenbank area could persist through 2003. - Matt Johnson
A PSE crew moves poles and wires last week as traffic moves in one lane on Highway 525 north of Freeland. Construction-related delays in the Greenbank area could persist through 2003.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

A road widening expected to provide daily work for a state Department of Transportation contractor between now and Halloween of 2003 will keep traffic rolling slowly through Greenbank on Highway 525.

Oh, horrors.

This week and for the next three months, drivers headed north or south through Whidbey Island’s midpoint will have no choice but to slow down, stop and watch as crews from Puget Sound Energy move power poles and high-voltage lines to make room for a 3.62-mile stretch of new car lanes and paved shoulders.

In April, Oak Harbor’s Kreig Construction will move into the work zone for up to 225 days of demolition, grading and paving work — work that promises to limit traffic speed to a crawl during daylight hours.

The good news is that the $2.5 million job is the last phase of a road widening project that has laid new pavement and bicycle-friendly shoulders on the highway’s run between the Clinton ferry dock and the southern reaches of Coupeville. Greg Masten, an engineer for the Washington Department of Transportation, said the finished, 36-foot-wide roadway between Smugglers Cove Road and Houston Road is the final piece in a patchwork of projects spanning the past decade.

“That should finish all the widening of Highway 525 on the island,” Masten said Wednesday.

Also included in the job are right-hand turnouts for intersecting roads and a number of left-hand turn lanes. Though the state started the job early last fall by felling trees on both sides of the highway, Masten said tearing up the old pavement and rolling out the new could take up to two full construction seasons. During that time, traffic will be constrained to a single lane on most weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

There are no detours around this project, as there was when the state widened the highway through the northern Freeland and southern Greenbank areas three years ago.

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