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Highway 20 safety project begins

A project to improve safety on busy Highway 20, south of Oak Harbor between Sidney Street and Scenic Heights Road, will soon be under way.

The $8.3 million Washington Department of Transportation project was undertaken to provide better site distance, run-off room along the shoulders and reduce collisions at intersections.

The stretch of highway, which has seen 169 collisions in the last five years involving 308 vehicles, was identified as a high risk area by the state.

“This area had enough accidents where we needed to take a serious look at it,” said Dave Chesson, Department of Transportation spokesman. “There have been a lot of accidents in that stretch.”

G.G. Excavation, Inc. of Anacortes was awarded the bid and has begun digging a detention pond south of Sidney Street for storm water runoff, part of the environmental work for the project. The crew will also begin working near Mark Street in anticipation of a closure that should take place April 30.

“They will close the road there permanently,” Chesson said. “The road outlets onto Sidney Street right at the edge of SR 20 creating a safety issue. Crews may also start working on the second detention pond which is north of Sidney Street.”

Major road construction is expected to begin May 1.

The project will entail widening the current 11-foot lanes to 12-feet and increasing the shoulders to eight feet. Turn lanes will be added at various locations, including a left turn lane for southbound traffic at the intersection of Highway 20 and Sidney Street and a right turn lane for southbound traffic in the vicinity of Boon Road. In addition, the existing southbound left turn lane will be lengthened by 50-feet at Monroe Landing Road.

The crews will change the angle of roads that intersect with Highway 20, level hills and straighten sharp curves to provide drivers better sight distance. The intersection of Boon Road will be realigned and the roadway will be lowered in two locations between Swantown Road and Eagle Vista Avenue.

The current highway lighting will be extended from Eagle Vista Avenue to the intersection of Swantown Road and Highway 20.

“We will widen lanes and shoulders to improve safety for all road users, including drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians,” the project description reads. “We will also build sidewalks in the region of Eagle Vista Avenue and Swantown Road.”

A bus pullout will be added just south of Haga Road.

The environmental work will include installing new drainage and catch basins and building storm water treatment facilities, including five detention ponds.

Construction is scheduled to be finished next year.

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