Whidbey News-Times


State cites several options for Parker Road changes

By NATHAN WHALEN Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
December 21, 2012 · 3:21 PM

Joe Sheldon and Louise Harvey talk with Todd Carlson, planning and development services director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, about one of the options concerning Highway 20 and the intersection with Parker, Morris and Old Smith Prairie roads. / Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

About 50 residents, transportation officials and community leaders discussed options being considered to alter several intersections on Highway 20 between Island Transit’s headquarters and Outlying Field.

The Washington State Department  of Transportation came up with a list of eight options to alter the intersections around Old Smith Prairie, Parker and Morris roads, which is also the area Island Transit wants to place a secondary access to its new headquarters that is currently under construction. The options stem from concerns residents had about Island Transit’s plans to alter the intersections in the area to make room for a secondary access. Residents were concerned the alterations would make the area more hazardous for drivers.

“I’m pretty sure the highway department has listened,” Bob Clay, Coupeville town councilman and Island Transit board member, said. He recognized the difficulty in coming up with a plan that meets everybody’s needs.

From January 2005 to April 2012, 42 collisions have taken place on Highway 20 from Jacobs Road to Morris Road. Of that amount, 11 accidents have happened at Morris Road and two at Old Smith Prairie Road.

The Dec. 13 presentation is a followup from a meeting that took place in August.

Transportation officials organized the meeting to get comments from residents about the options being considered. Transportation officials noted that funding isn’t available to complete the projects.

Those options include:

• Re-align Parker Road and add new left turn lanes on Highway 20 at Morris Road and the new Parker Road. Close the intersection at Old Smith Prairie Road and install Island Transit’s secondary access. Estimates range between $2 million and $2.9 million.

• Aligning Parker Road to Morris Road while closing the intersections of Parker and Old Smith Prairie roads and install left turn lanes while providing Island Transit secondary access. Estimates place the cost between $1.8 million and $2.6 million.

•  Aligning Morris Road to Parker Road while closing the intersections at Morris and Old Smith Prairie roads and install left turn lanes while providing Island Transit’s secondary access. Estimates place the cost between $2 million to $2.9 million.

The first three options incorporate Island Transit’s need for a secondary access to its facility.

• Add a left turn lane at the existing Island Transit entrance on Highway 20. Safety improvements at the Morris and Parker roads intersection would still have to move forward and doesn’t address Island Transit’s need for a secondary access. Costs for the option ranges from $1.4 million to $2 million, but doesn’t include the costs for improvements at Parker and Morris roads.

Todd Harrison, assistant regional administrator for the department of transportation, also presented four additional options that he described as low on the feasibility scale.

Two of those options considered purchasing the private Plum Creek Road and establishing a right of way through the transfer station. However, county officials wouldn’t want traffic going through the facility, the department of transportation would have to contend with conservation easements and it doesn’t address Island Transit’s needs.

Harrison said the costs concerning the Plum Creek Road options were unknown.

The department of transportation showed two options for roundabouts, but those were costly and still didn’t meet Island Transit’s need for a secondary access.

Thursday’s meeting stemmed from the transit agency’s original plan to install a secondary access, close the intersections of Old Smith Prairie and Morris roads and install a new intersection between the two. A public meeting concerning the area last took place in August.

Martha Rose, executive director for Island Transit, said the secondary access is a requirement for the occupancy permit.

The Department of Transportation originally had funding to install left turn lanes from Highway 20 to the county’s solid waste transfer station, which is a higher priority project.

However, the department of transportation was able to obtain an additional $1.5 million to address problems at the intersections near Outlying Field.


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