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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Meghan Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Shoreline)
Tim Nau, assistant project engineer, 425-225-8726 (Everett)
UPDATE: The closure has been rescheduled due to a wet forecast. Weather permitting, the closure will take place Sunday, April 8 - Friday, April 13.
SULTAN – For students, spring break means sleeping in, catching up with friends or maybe even a sunny vacation. But for drivers on US 2 next week, spring break will mean a traffic headache when crews reduce the highway in Sultan to a single lane for 107 hours while they finish building a new roundabout at Rice Road.
Weather permitting, Lakeside/Tri-State Construction crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce US 2 at Rice Road to one lane around the clock from 7 p.m. Sunday, April 8, to 6 a.m. Friday, April 13, when they’ll open the new roundabout to traffic. Flaggers will direct both directions of US 2 through the work zone.
“Unfortunately, the closure is going to be especially difficult for local drivers,” said Janice Fahning, WSDOT project engineer. “We purposely scheduled it during spring break so we could avoid impacting school bus routes and parents dropping off and picking up their kids. But we still expect to see long delays if we don’t get help from drivers.”
About 14,000 vehicles travel this stretch of US 2 each day. Squeezing all of them through a single lane will cause significant delays and backups, particularly during the afternoon and evening. If drivers don’t divert to other routes or shift their trips, backups could reach two miles in the afternoon and evening, with delays of 90 minutes.
“We know it’s not possible for everyone, but if you can, talk to your employer about shifting your schedule or working from home,” Fahning said. Local drivers can help minimize delays by avoiding travel on US 2 between 1 and 9 p.m. Cross-state travelers and truckers should consider alternate routes like US 97 and I-90.
During the closure, crews will build the center island and driving lanes of the roundabout, put down the first layer of pavement, and install new lighting, striping and signs. Crews will finish final paving and striping in early summer when temperatures are warmer.
The single-lane roundabout at the US 2/ Rice Road intersection is designed to help reduce the risk of serious collisions, particularly those involving drivers turning on and off the highway.
The intersection saw 20 collisions from 2006 to 2010, 11 of which involved turning vehicles. The intersection was also the site of a fatal collision in February 2010 and serious injury collisions in August 2010 and January 2012, all involving turning vehicles.
This project is part of a $10 million investment to reduce serious collisions on US 2 between Monroe and Gold Bar. For graphics and construction information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/US2/RiceRoadSafety.
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