Editorial: Ebey's Landing guardrails look good

The new wood guardrails on Highway 20 north of Coupeville are expensive, but their appearance makes them worth the cost.

As the contractor stalled traffic to install the guardrails this week, drivers had plenty of time to look at the new addition to the roadside and notice what a positive visual difference they make.

The former cold, metal, mass-produced guardrails were being removed, and warm-looking, rustic poles made in New York state were being put in their place.

The cost was bound to attract criticism as the wood models came with a price tag of $170,000 while metal replacements for the originals would have only cost $49,000. That’s acceptable for appearances in such a special place, but it’s too bad the material could not have been manufactured in Washington, which has a plentiful supply of logs of its own.

The wood guardrails were promoted by the board of the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, along with the National Park Service. They did the right thing.

The part of Highway 20 above Libbey Road leads into the heart of Ebey’s Reserve, one of the most beautiful parts of Washington. Motorists will see the wood guardrails and know they’re approaching something special. As motorists crest the hill at Sherman Road and see the incredible view of farmland, scattered barns and farmhouses, mountains and water, they’ll know they’re in the heart of a national treasure. Anything that makes the visual experience better, including wood guardrails, is welcome.

But, next time, let’s try to build’em in Washington.

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