County gearing up for new trails, road improvements in 6-year plan

New trails and intersection improvements are on the books for the next couple of years, according to the county’s draft six-year transportation improvement plan.

Public Works Director Bill Oakes presented the plan to Island County commissioners Wednesday. A public hearing is set for the plan around 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The proposed plan is largely the same as last year’s, with several projects being removed after being completed or for not having compatible grant funds to complete them. Federal aid funding couldn’t be used to complete the Bos Lake Trails, for instance, and so the projects were removed.

In 2020, public works is expected to start work on the Libbey to Kettles multi-use trail connector on Highway 20. The project is estimated to cost $500,000.

While discussing the plan Wednesday, Commissioner Jill Johnson said she’d prefer the department focus on roads that could be “single points of failure” before some of the other projects. The safety of those who live where there’s only one road in or out should be at the forefront of their planning.

She said she wasn’t going to ask that the plan be dramatically altered this year, but that in the future she’d consider fewer new trails in favor of roads that might address her safety concerns.

“I just want to make sure that we’re keeping some of those conversations alive,” Johnson said.

Intersection improvements at Crescent Harbor Road and Regatta Avenue are expected to cost nearly $2 million in 2020. The department also has plans to complete a $60,000 study next year on the potential to support electric vehicle charging stations in the county.

Next year, Freeland’s central business district should see some alignment improvements at Main Street and East Harbor Road as well as Harbor Avenue and Layton Road.

Farther out, public works intends to start construction on a portion of Crawford Road to provide public access to Whidbey Airpark’s light industrial zone. Preliminary work is set to start next year and construction is slated for 2022.

The project is expected to cost approximately $6.12 million over five years.

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