Road construction on Madrona Way complete

After five months and more than $1 million dollars, construction on an 1,100-foot stretch of Madrona Way, west of Coupeville, is complete.

Workers spent the past six months replacing and securing the roadway, widening the shoulders and replacing the guard rail. During the project, Madrona Way was closed for about a month

Randy Brackett, construction engineer for Island County, said that portion of the roadway had failed several times in previous years.

“The road was starting to crack and it indicated a failure,” Brackett said, adding that the road was starting to slide toward the shoreline. If the county hadn’t done anything to fix Madrona Way, it might have been hard to maintain two-way traffic.

Madrona Way, which provides a route to Coupeville from Highway 20, meanders along the Penn Cove shoreline. In addition to being a beautiful drive, Madrona Way is an alternate route for motorists if Highway 20 were closed by a severe car accident.

Work crews faced numerous challenges repairing Madrona, ranging from difficulty securing the road to meeting requirements placed on construction by Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and the central Whidbey Island Historical Preservation District.

Workers drove in 140 nails, which varied in length from 14 feet to 20 feet, and installed 40 micropiles, which are steel casings filled with concrete, to help secure the roadway. Brackett compared that work to sticking pins into a pin cushion.

“If you put enough pins into a pin cushion you’ll stiffen up that pin cushion,” Brackett said.

Dick Snyder, county engineer, said newly installed guardrails will eventually look rusty, but it won’t affect the rail’s strength.

“It takes about a year for it to get good and rusty,” Snyder said, adding the aged-look guardrails were something that was requested by Ebey’s Reserve.

Brackett said the county has been talking about the project since the late 1980s. Construction cost approximately $870,000, design cost another $200,000 and right-of-way purchases costs $160,000. Snyder said the county had a preliminary design completed in 1995. Officials were answering concerns raised by the Reserve when severe storms in 1996 and 1997 delayed the project.

The county began preparing to fix Madrona Way again in 1999. Snyder said it was time consuming to answer the Reserve’s concerns, design a stormwater management plan and conduct an archeological investigation that meets National Park Service regulations.

While this project is now complete on Madrona, another project could take place next summer.

The county is planning to add one inch overlay on Madrona Way from the Captain Whidbey Inn to Coupeville town limits. Brackett said the project is still being designed and he didn’t have an estimate on the cost.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates