The state Department of Transportation is reviewing old plans for Sharpes Corner, where, in 2008, the state was considering a roundabout. But, with new funding, the DOT is taking another look at the intersection and plans for the roundabout may die in the process.
Todd Harrison, the Assistant Regional Administrator for WSDOT, Monday night told the City Council that the DOT will re-evaluate the plans and will explore new design alternatives. He said that three factors are driving the new plans: collisions, congestion and non-motorized access to the intersection.
Earlier plans were shut down in 2009 when the legislature cut funding and delayed the project.
Because it has been several years since engineers have worked on this project, Harrison said DOT needs a new analysis to determine if a roundabout is still the best solution or if another design option should be considered.
According to the DOT, more than 30,000 vehicles, on average, 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.
Harrison said that engineers look for the best solution, look for feedback next year and will begin design work and, with construction possible in 2018-2019.