Fairgrounds Road passes fair test

LANGLEY — Access to the fairgrounds via the new Fairgrounds Road has gone through its ultimate test: The Island County Fair.

And city of Langley and fair officials said it passed.

Members of the Island County Fair Association feared that the new road would hinder access by large trucks and horse trailers to the fairgrounds. The concern came up multiple times during the city’s fight with the county and the fair board to get Fairgrounds Road. The legal battle stretched for nearly two years.

"The ingress and egress off Langley Road across Fairgrounds Road went well," said Dan Ollis, chairman of the fair board.

"I received a number of compliments from 4-H and the carnival. Everyone felt it went much better than expected," he said.

Most recently, complaints from the fair board centered around design and again, the board voiced its concern about the ingress and egress from the fairgrounds.

Due to some designing changes, the street will cost the city a few extra dollars.

The city council is expected to approve a change order tonight to pay for changes after the contractor encountered unacceptable soils in the flat area close to Langley Road which had to be excavated and replaced with new material, city planning director Larry Cort said.

"The total amount of the change order is $11,837," Cort said.

The road was officially transferred to the city from The Highlands developer on Friday, Aug. 8. By Monday afternoon, the city opened the lower section to the fairgrounds and turned over the upper section to the fair for permit-only parking for 4-H campers.

"From my perspective, providing access into the fairgrounds went really well," said Challis Stringer, the city’s director of public works. "Dan worked with us as we fine-tuned how to close the road and provide parking."

Fair and 4-H officials used the new roadway for parking during the fair, which was at a premium given the loss of parking across Camano Avenue from the fairgrounds due to the fire hall construction project.

Working cooperatively with the fair has been a high priority for city staff, Langley’s mayor said.

"This topic has been on every weekly staff meeting from the beginning of the summer," said Mayor Paul Samuelson. "We’ve had an outstanding relationship with Dan and strong leadership from the staff."

Cort and Ryan Goodman, the city engineer, worked with The Highlands developer, the road contractor and the fair to make sure the road met county specifications.

The city expects to open Fairgrounds Road to the public on Sept. 1.

Before it can be opened, the signage and striping on the lower section of the road needs to be coordinated with the county and installed.

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