Submitted by the Washington State Department of Transportation
The Washington State Department of Transportation will hold an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Brickworks in Friday Harbor to help community members learn about the construction timeline for the project at Sharpes Corner in Anacortes.
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The Sharpes Corner intersection experiences significant congestion, especially during the busy summer tourist season. Lengthy backups can extend out into 55 mph traffic, which increases the risk of high-speed, rear-end collisions.
WSDOT designed improvements for the SR 20 Sharpes Corner intersection near Anacortes before the project was shut down in 2009 when the funding was cut. Funding for design and construction was approved by the Legislature in July 2015 as part of the Connecting Washington Revenue Package.
Based on the previous analysis and new design work and community involvement, it was determinted that a roundabout would be the ideal solution at the busy intersection to improve safety and relieve congestion. The project will also include a roundabout at Miller-Gibralter Road intersection, along with some improvements for pedestrian and bicycle travel along the highway.
Why is WSDOT improving the Sharpes Corner intersection?
SR 20 is the only land access to the city of Oak Harbor, the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and the rest of Whidbey Island. The SR 20 Spur is the primary access to Anacortes and ferry service to the San Juan Islands and Sidney, B.C. As a result, the intersection of these two roadways has significant regional importance.
On average, more than 30,000 vehicles pass through the Sharpes Corner intersection every day, creating heavy traffic congestion. Backups can be severe and increase the chance of collisions. Traffic turning west toward Whidbey Island often backs up beyond the turn lane, leaving vehicles stopped on the highway, increasing the chance of rear-end collisions.
We’ve also heard from many of you that bike/pedestrian improvements are important, and we will make upgrades in for non-motorized traffic as well.
The end result
Improving this intersection and the surrounding area will improve traffic flow and will help reduce the frequency and severity of collisions.
Safety: Improvements to these intersections will increase traffic flow and decreases the risk of rear-end collisions, making the roadway safer for drivers. Bicycle and pedestrian improvements will increase safety and mobility in the area.
Congestion relief: Drivers will see significant increases in roadway capacity and traffic flow. This means shorter drive times and less time sitting in traffic.
Non-motorized improvements: A multi-use path and additional crosswalks will be added in the area at designated facilities at Marches Point Road for pedestrians and cyclists. Additional signs will be added to increase safety.
Environment: We will make improvements to stormwater culverts and detention ponds where necessary to meet current WSDOT environmental standards.
What is the project timeline?
Fall 2017: Advertise project for competitive bidding.
Spring 2018: Estimated construction start date.
Fall 2018: Scheduled construction completion date.