County plan considers roundabouts, delays trail

Several safety projects are on the list

A study of Freeland business district intersection improvements that may include “compact roundabouts” is set to move forward in the county’s updated transportation plan .

Island County commissioners last week approved the six-year transportation improvements plan, which included funding for several new projects and studies.

Concern about key intersections in Freeland spurred the county to perform a feasibility study at adding a small roundabout to improve safety, according to Connie Bowers, assistant county engineer. The project would examine adding the infrastructure at Main Street and East Harbor Road; Main Street and Harbor Avenue; and Harbor Avenue and Layton Road.

The planned Clinton-Ken’s Korner trail is still included in the six-year plan but has been moved to 2024. Trail construction was expected to start in 2019, but commissioners Rick Hannold and Jill Johnson asked to prioritize four other projects ahead of it.

“By the time that conversation comes back around, we’ll be able to better understand how that fits into our bridge-to-ferry trail,” Johnson said during last Tuesday’s public hearing.

Grant funding was secured for the Clinton project, but Public Works Director Bill Oakes said he had to decline the money after the most recent commissioner decision. New grants were applied for and obtained to pay for the four trail projects to fill its place, all of which are located in Central and North Whidbey.

The adopted plan allocates around $6.9 million over the six years to build a road that would provide public access to the light industrial zone of Whidbey Air Park. Preliminary work to examine its feasibility is expected to begin next year and cost $250,000.

Another new project would widen the shoulders of State Highway 20 from Welcher to Race Road. This area is considered a “primary shoulder gap,” according to the project proposal.

It’s estimated to cost around $5.2 million and the county secured $4.6 million in grants to help complete it.

The updated plan includes $58,000 a year for “miscellaneous trail projects,” which is a new section so the county can move forward with small, low-cost trail projects more efficiently, Bowers said.

The Houston to Race Road connector, Oakes Road, is expected to be completed in 2019.

The plan includes $1.6 million to finish construction, which should be done by next summer, Bowers said.

The full plan can be viewed at islandcountywa.gov/publicworks

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