Caution: Road work ahead in Edmonds

Expect delays at busy intersection through November
By Brian Soergel | Apr 06, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Like the sign says, there will be plenty of road work ahead in the coming months at the intersection of 76th Avenue West and 212th Street SW.

Although the city’s reconstruction of the congested 212th Street SW and 76th Avenue West intersection officially begins Monday, April 10, you may have noticed that utility work already has ripped up some of its approaches.

Get used to it.

Improvements to one of the city’s most maligned crossroads – if not the worst, it’s close – will provide dedicated left turn lanes on 76th Avenue West with simultaneous turning movements during the left-turn phase.

This, along with the addition of right-turn lanes and a new traffic signal, will increase the capacity and improve intersection signal operation, traffic flow and vehicle delay. And reducing vehicle emissions means improved air quality.

At least that’s the plan.

The city’s water, storm and sewer utilities will be upgraded within the project limits, and overhead utilities will be converted to an underground system, making the intersection a little nicer looking.

Drivers have three choices: Avoid the area, pack a healthy dose of patience or get ready to stew awhile. Work is expected to continue through the beginning of the school year in September and into November.

The intersection – with Edmonds-Woodway High School at its southwest corner – suffers extended delays during peak commuting times and school hours due to its limited capacity, city Transportation Engineer Bertrand Hauss said.

Both approaches on 76th have two through lanes with no dedicated left-turn lane. The left turn volumes are high, and operate independently.

Add to the mix the fact that increased traffic is only going to get worse, and you have an intersection failing its level of state-mandated service rating.

That’s a big reason why the city’s been able to secure federal and state grants for the intersection’s design and construction. Still, about $1.1 million of the $6 million in construction costs is needed from local funds, with most coming from the city's water and sewer utilities, said Public Works Director Phil Williams.

The project hiccuped last summer, when construction bids came in much higher than was budgeted, Hauss said. Advertised again, the winning bid went to Marshbank Construction, which also constructed Edmonds’ Five Corners roundabout.

Bundled in with the planned improvements will be new bike lanes on 76th Avenue West, beginning at 220th Street, with a combination of lanes and sharrows (shared lanes) north to 198th Street SW and to Olympic View Drive.

In addition, 212th Street bike lanes will begin at the Five Corners roundabout and continue east to 72nd Avenue West. The bike lane improvements include replacement of existing catch basin frames and grates, permanent signage, modifications of two existing traffic signal systems, and new route and way-finding signage.

To make room for the bike lanes, the road section will be changed to three lanes with one travel lane in each direction and a center turn lane. This will provide additional safety benefits to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

The bike lanes are funded from a $580,000 grant from Verdant Health Commission and the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board.

At a sparsely attended public meeting last week, a few residents in the area raised concerns about wait times and other problems associated with a major construction project.

Both Hauss and Capital Projects Manager Jaime Hawkins acknowledged the headaches to come, but stressed improvements will help an intersection that is failing its job.

Hauss said another of Edmonds’ worst intersections – just down 76th at 220th Street SW, is next on the agenda.

 

 

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