Comments sought on Central Whidbey roads project

Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation want residents to share their opinions on how a proposed construction project will affect Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Plans call for the closing of the intersections of Old Smith Prairie Road and Parker Road with State Highway 20.

Traffic on Parker Road would be funneled over to Morris Road where it would intersect with the highway.

The three intersections are between Island Transit’s headquarters and Outlying Field and within the confines of the reserve.

A public meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the commons at Coupeville Middle and High School.

Shane Spahr, project engineer with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said the proposal is currently undergoing environmental review and the public comment is needed on how the construction would influence archeological and historical elements in the area.

Spahr said the department of Transportation is talking with officials from Island Transit, the Pacific Rim Institute and from Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve about the project.

Lisbeth Cort, interim reserve manager, said areas of concern include the lighting that will be used for roads, the amount of concrete used for the bus stop and the possible location of a trailhead.

If adverse effects are determined to have been found, then the state Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation will negotiate a memorandum of understanding. That agreement will document the project’s history, outline the impacts and lay out a mitigation plan.

In addition to the alterations around Parker Road, plans also include adding a left turn lane from the highway into the solid waste transfer station located west of the Island Transit headquarters.

Transportation officials have accumulated funding from a variety of sources to help pay for the project.

They received $500,000 from Island County, $1.8 million Federal Scenic Byways Grant, $2.5 million in federal funds and $100,000 in state funds.

Spahr said the project should go out to bid in early 2015 with construction beginning in the summer 2015.


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