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Highway 20 crash no cause for extra lane
Another rear-end accident occurred on a much-contested section of Highway 20 near the Island County Solid Waste Disposal Station Wednesday afternoon.
Riley Quinn, 18, rear-ended a stationary Ford F150 as he traveled west on the highway. Quinn was driving a Honda. The Ford was waiting for another vehicle to turn left into the solid waste station south of Coupeville.
Quinn reported no injuries at the scene; however, a Whidbey General Hospital EMS unit transported 54-year-old Sherie Smith, who was a passenger in the Ford. The driver of the truck, 59-year-old John Smith, also experienced neck and back pain but was able to drive himself to the hospital.
The cause of the crash was “speed too fast for conditions,” said Trooper Mark Francis.
Brain Weaver, an Island County Solid Waste employee who was clearing debris from he roadway, said there’s been a push for a turn lane on Highway 20 near the busy waste disposal station and recycling center for “at least 15 years.”
Dave Chesson, a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation, said the cost to widen that stretch of highway would be substantial.
“The collision history doesn’t make it rank very high when compared to other highways around the state that have higher traffic counts and collision rates,” he said.
Four collisions, involving eight vehicles, occurred within the last five years at the Highway 20 disposal company location and resulted in two injuries, he said.
Local and regional plans, including the Island Regional Transportation Plan and the State Route 20 Route Development Plan, do however call for improvements on the highway from Race Road to Jacobs Road, Chesson said.
Improvement projects depend on funding, he said, adding there is no current guarantee of future funding.
“As you already know, the needs within the region and state far exceed the money available for new projects,” he said in an email to the Whidbey News-Times.