County looking at new road to Whidbey Air Park

Island County will apply for a grant to study the potential of building a road to the industrial area of Whidbey Air Park. Part of the land at the air park is commercially zoned, but there isn’t a public road to access the area.

“This is an opportunity,” Public Works Director Bill Oakes told the Board of Island County Commissioners at a meeting Wednesday. “If we can make all the pieces work, it has the potential to solve a problem.”

Oakes said the county plans to build a road through land owned by the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District. The next parcel of road would be built by a private contractor and it would connect to Crawford Road.

All three commissioners approved of the plan to move forward with the grant application. Oakes said Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, also supported applying for the grant, which also includes an evaluation of the potential impact of a road on economic development in the area.

“I’m interested in moving it forward because I think getting a road out there would be beneficial to the county,” said Commissioner Rick Hannold.

Commissioner Jill Johnson also supported moving forward with the grant application, but cautioned that there may end up being too many road blocks in the future for the project to truly come to fruition. Providing public access to Whidbey Air Park is in the county’s six-year transportation plan, but not much funding has been allocated to the project yet.

In 2015, the county hired a consulting firm to perform a route analysis for the project. The proposed route came from this study, according to Connie Bowers, assistant county engineer. She said partnering with private developers and homeowners to create a new piece of road and bring Crawford up to county standards may provide obstacles moving forward.

The current six-year plan has preliminary examination of work beginning in 2019 and construction starting in 2022. However, Bowers said this timeline may be revisited during the annual review of the plan.

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