EDITORIAL: City highway spending sensible

Oak Harbor officials admit it’s a gamble, but they’re correct to go ahead and spend $107,000 to prepare engineering and design studies for the city’s worst traffic nightmare: the area known locally as Cackle Corner, or more specifically the stretch of Highway 20 from Beeksma Drive to Swantown Road.

It’s where two southbound lanes abruptly merge into one, just as traffic streams out of Wal-Mart and downtown Oak Harbor, with an number of ill-placed private driveways along the way. The city allowed too much development in the area for the roadway to handle, but that’s history. Now we need to fix the problem.

The thinking is that the state will be more likely to place the project on its priority construction list if engineering and design work is started, so there’s a concrete plan and cost estimate to work with. And spending the money isn’t all that much of a gamble. The intersection will always need fixing until it’s fixed, and the design will likely be timeless although costs will of course increase.

Ultimately, this this will be a test of the strength of our 10th District legislative delegation’s influence in Olympia. With all seats up for election this fall, Cackle Corner will be a good issue to grill the candidates about.

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