Starting in early spring, construction will likely make it more difficult to get to and from Whidbey Island from the north end.
The state Department of Transportation will be building two large roundabouts on State Highway 20 in Skagit County this year. One will be a two-lane roundabout at the Sharpes Corner intersection and the other a single-lane roundabout up the hill at the Miller and Gibraltar roads intersection, according to a press release.
To help people understand the project and how to use roundabouts, the Department of Transportation is holding an open-house event 5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 31 at North Whidbey Middle School. An event is also being held the prior week at 5:30-7:30 p.m., Jan. 23 at the Anacortes Middle School.
The meetings will feature an interactive display of the Sharpes Corner roundabout. Those who attend can speak with WSDOT engineers and members of the construction team. Troopers from the Washington State Patrol will be available to clarify traffic laws regarding roundabouts.
The $13.4-million project is supposed to decrease congestion and increase safety. Sharpes Corner, where the Highway 20 spur breaks off and heads to Anacortes, has had an average of 14 crashes a year in the last 10 years. The roundabouts are expected to cut the number of collisions by 40 percent.
“Efforts to improve this key intersection that connects Whidbey Island to the rest of Washington state have been underway for years, and we’re finally on the verge of construction,” WSDOT Project Engineer Gabe Ng said in a press release.
“These roundabouts will not only improve how quickly people travel through the area, but also dramatically improve safety along this corridor.”
Utility relocation work started earlier this month. Crews from Tapani Inc. are set to start construction in early spring, a press release states.