Cara Mitchell, WSDOT communications, 360-357-2703
EDGEWOOD – Drivers who use State Route 161 will soon experience improved traffic flow through Edgewood as construction crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation open new lanes during the first week of August.
“We know that local businesses owners, residents and motorists will be pleased to have this construction behind them, and we thank them for their patience,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton.
The goal of the SR 161 – 24th Street East to Jovita widening project is to improve mobility and safety. In the project, crews widened SR 161 from two lanes to four, added 4-foot shoulders to accommodate bicyclists, and installed sidewalks for pedestrians. A new traffic signal was installed at the intersection of 16th Street and Taylor Street East, and access points to the highway were better defined.
The widening project required extensive utility relocation prior to the widening work. Eight different utilities were relocated at various locations throughout the project, which is work that normally takes place prior to the start of a construction project. In this case, the utilities were located within an extremely tight corridor, and the relocation work was included as part of WSDOT’s contract. Crews also installed a complex drainage system following the utility relocation work.
“This was a challenging project from the very first day. It may have appeared that WSDOT was just widening the roadway, but the first few years of the project were spent working on those complicated utility relocations and installing drainage,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Michele Britton. “We’re happy to be wrapping things up and giving the community an improved and more attractive highway through their town.”
The new signal at the intersection of SR 161 and 16th Street/Taylor Street East was activated July 31. The contractor will continue to finish work on the sidewalks with the goal of opening the new lanes to traffic within a week.