Highway 20 work planned

Public comment is now being taken on a road construction project on Highway 20 stretching from Troxell Road to Rosario Road.

That is one of a number of construction projects that will hopefully make the highway safer.

Randy Simonson with the Washington State Department of Transportation hopes that construction of the first phase, stretching from the Oak Harbor city limits to Frostad Road, will begin in May, but before that can happen the project has to be sent out to bid.

When construction begins, work crews will make alterations to the highway that include widening the roadway and improving signals.

Transportation officials originally planned to close northbound access to Highway 20 from Regatta Road. However, the DOT abandoned that plan, Simonson said.

To help minimize negative impacts on motorists, any possible lane closures will take place at night, Simonson said.

Highway 20 from the Oak Harbor city limits to the spur near Anacortes is considered a high accident corridor by the Department of Transportation said Patrick Fuller, DOT design engineer.

The highway on northern Whidbey Island is the frequent site of head-on collisions and rear enders that leave motorists injured or worse. A head-on collision killed an Oak Harbor woman in December.

The project is divided into three areas, Oak Harbor to Frostad Road, Monkey Hill Road to Troxell Road, and Troxell Road to Rosario Road.

Simonson said construction on the Monkey Hill Road project is scheduled for next year.

As for the Troxell Road project, residents may have already noticed preparations for it.

Last month, the defunct Deception Pass Grocery and the neighboring mini-golf course were demolished to make room for the widening and alterations to the roadway.

Fuller said that turn lanes need to be installed and the intersection of Ducken Road needs to be realigned to match the intersection of Deception Circle Road.

Construction for the project is scheduled to begin in 2005. In the meantime, the DOT is negotiating with the approximately 40 property owners for right-of-way purchases.

In addition to the road work, the historic rock-and-log guard rails leading up to the Deception Pass Bridge and over to Rosario Road are going to be replaced.

Fuller said that the rails, built by WPA work crews during the Great Depression, don’t meet modern safety standards.

The new design, utilizing reinforced logs, recently went through crash tests in Texas, Fuller said.

The Department of Transportation worked with the state Historical Preservation Office and State Parks in designing the new guard rails.

For people interested in seeing the scope of the Ducken Road to Rosario Road project, copies are available at the Oak Harbor Public Library or by calling (206) 440-4521. Comments will be accepted until March 31.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbey

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