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Summer road work includes Oak Harbor, dangerous Arnold Road intersection

Motorists will have to endure another summer of road construction projects, with two major highway jobs slated for North Whidbey: in Oak Harbor and at the Arnold Road intersection.

The first is a project that will repave Highway 20 within the Oak Harbor city limits and the second project is a safety improvement project north of San de Fuca.

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently awarded a $3.2-million bid to Lakeside Industries of Anacortes to repave Highway 20 in Oak Harbor from Harbor Vista Drive to NE Narrows Avenue. The project includes bringing sidewalks into ADA compliance and making improvements to 10 traffic islands and 88 sidewalk ends along the stretch of road.

The highway is deteriorating do to the heavy traffic, extreme weather and the use of studded tires, according to information from the WSDOT.

“It’s been more than 20 years since we repaved this stretch of highway,” Marco Foster, WSDOT engineering manager, said in a news release. “This project isn’t just about getting rid of cracks and bumps; it’s about preserving the highway for daily drivers and tourists alike.”

Dave Chesson, WSDOT spokesman for this region,  said the repaving project will begin in June. He warned the project will be noisy, with most of the work being done at night.

Because of the heavy highway traffic especially during the busy summer months, there isn’t any way to safely complete the repaving of the road during the day, Chesson said.

The second project scheduled in the summer will take place around the accident-prone intersection of Arnold Road and Highway 20. Planners hope altering the intersection will reduce the number and severity of car crashes.

The stretch of Highway 20 around Arnold Road is a notorious hotspot for car crashes.

By WSDOT’s count, 90 collisions have taken  place there between 2005 and 2009, resulting in three fatalities.

The project consists of rebuilding the Arnold Road intersection by cutting back the hillside, which will provide for more sweeping curves and make it easier for motorists to turn off and on the highway.

The Arnold Road project is expected to cost approximately $9.5 million. A bid is scheduled to be awarded in May with construction scheduled to begin sometime this summer.

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