Intersection work planned next year

Several safety projects are on the list

Work on new and long-talked-about intersection projects on North Whidbey are expected to begin next year, according to the county’s updated transportation plan.

Island County commissioners Tuesday approved the six-year transportation improvements plan, which included new turn lanes on Regatta Drive, a traffic signal at the Swantown Road-Heller Road intersection and realignments at Monkey Hill and Henni roads.

The plan also includes four new grant-funded trail projects, according to Connie Bowers, assistant county engineer.

The area where Northeast Regatta Drive meets West Crescent Harbor Road has been on the county’s radar for a while, Bowers said. The plan calls for about $3.8 million in construction costs across 2019 and 2020 to add right and left turn lanes on Regatta and reduce the hill at the intersection.

Bowers said the county will partner with the City of Oak Harbor at the same time to replace the water line that runs under the road.

This area is regularly closed because of poor conditions when it’s icy, she said, and these changes aim to improve safety and visibility.

The county secured $2.3 million to realign the intersection of Monkey Hill and Henni roads on North Whidbey, which is a project that hasn’t been on the six-year plan before. Preliminary work is expected to start in 2019 and construction costs are allocated for 2021.

Bowers said the county is working to do “proactive safety improvements” in areas with “odd alignments.”

Another new project would widen the shoulders of Highway 20 from Welcher to Race Road. This area is considered a “primary shoulder gap,” according to the project proposal.

It’s estimated to cost around $5.2 million and the county secured $4.6 million in grants to help complete it.

The updated plan includes $58,000 a year for “miscellaneous trail projects,” which is a new section so the county can move forward with small, low-cost trail projects more efficiently, Bowers said.

The Houston to Race Road connector, Oakes Road, is expected to be completed in 2019.

The plan includes $1.6 million to finish construction, which should be done by next summer, Bowers said.

The full plan can be viewed at islandcountywa.gov/publicworks.

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