Road will keep island traversable if highway is blocked

Island County commissioners’ decision to spend $4 million to build a short road off the beaten track on Central Whidbey was a wise investment.

That foresight might save a life someday.

Plans for the road began more than a decade ago. The idea is to have a connector between Houston and Race roads that will be an alternate route if State Highway 525 gets shut down for some reason.

Imagine if an ambulance is blocked from going to the hospital in that section of the highway. The cause could be something that would take a while to clear a path through, like a serious accident or downed power poles. Currently there is no way around.

The ambulance would have to wait, as would emergency vehicles coming the other way. It’s a recipe for disaster.

It’s a scenario that has happened at least once, according to Island County officials. An accident blocked both lanes of travel up and down the island for several hours a little over a year ago. The lack of an alternative route for commuters, delivery vehicles and others became quickly apparent, and obviously untenable.

The 1.5-mile, paved road will be modern and environmentally friendly, with a unique rain garden median, a roadside system to treat and filter road runoff and a retaining wall to protect nearby wetlands.

It will be named, appropriately, Oakes Road after longtime Public Works Director Bill Oakes, who’s coaxed along the project all these years.

The project encountered opposition from residents who live in the area of the new road. It’s understandable that people would hope to preserve the relative isolation and rural nature of their area as much as possible, but public safety is the greater concern.

Those who want to learn more should attend a project open house. It is set for 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 27 at Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue Station No. 53, 1164 Race Road, Coupeville.

More in Opinion

Editorial: Discussing animal shelter policies can be healthy, productive

Stories in the South Whidbey Record about dogs and cats are always… Continue reading

Letter: Thank you, Robert Bishop, county coroner

Editor, I’d like to take a moment to thank our Island County… Continue reading

Letter: Opinion page cartoons are biased against Trump

Editor, I have been a customer of the South Whidbey Record for… Continue reading

Letter: Forget the wall, get Trump to testify while under oath

Editor, When will Donald Trump be forced to testify under oath? Bill… Continue reading

Letter: Forever grateful to Planned Parenthood for what it does

Editor, The coming 46th year anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is certainly… Continue reading

Cartoon for Jan. 12, 2019

Cartoon for Jan. 12, 2019… Continue reading

Letter: Choose the life of a child over getting an abortion

Editor, This Jan. 22 marks the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.… Continue reading

Cartoon for Jan. 9, 2019

Cartoon for Jan. 9, 2019… Continue reading

Letter: COER shouldn’t be able to hijack Section 106 process

Editor, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, has hijacked the Section 106… Continue reading

Most Read