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New roundabouts open on SR 510 near Yelm
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for two new roundabouts on SR 510. Included in photo are Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, WSDOT Regional Administrator Kevin Dayton, Aiesh Ragih with KLB Construction, Nisqually Tribe Chairperson Cynthia Iyall and Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero.

They promote continuous, one-way traffic flow, reduce collisions by 37 percent, and cost less to maintain than traditional intersections. These are just some of the highlights that roundabouts offer, and why so many officials with the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Thurston County and WSDOT were happy to celebrate the completion of two new roundabouts on State Route 510 near Yelm with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Monday, June 16.

The project was also an example of great cooperation by multiple jurisdictions.

“Building this roundabout is a success story of working together. We were able to expedite permitting, together. We were able to create an innovative design, together. We have brought this project to completion, together,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton during his opening remarks.

Nisqually Tribe Chairperson Cynthia Iyall observed that since opening the roundabouts to traffic, she’s already seen better traffic flow and fewer collisions.

“Before the roundabouts were built, people would complain about traffic all the time. There were too many cars, and too many accidents. The roundabouts now keep the flow of traffic moving safely through what were once two dangerous intersections,” said Iyall.

In 1983, this stretch of State Route 510 averaged about 4,900 vehicles a day. Today, the same stretch of highway sees 18,000 vehicles per day.

Dayton recognized WSDOT crews for their outstanding work on the project, which included WSDOT construction project engineer Steve Fuchs, assistant project engineers Kim Mueller and John Romero, senior field engineer Dave Philpott, lead inspector Russ Smith, inspectors Justin Janke and Diane Christie. 

He also thanked design project engineer Brenden Clarke, survey lead Pat Rathbun, and survey crew members Josh Newman and David Nielsen, commenting that the curvature of a roundabout requires extraordinary attention to detail. Behind the scenes office support for this project included office engineer Jay Terry, material documentation engineer Suzanne Dethlefs, and documentation engineer Mark Carson.

KLB Construction out of Mukilteo was awarded the contract, and construction began in the summer of 2013. Project contributors included Nisqually Tribal Council, members and staff, Thurston County commissioners and staff, community members, Parametrix and WSDOT staff.

You can view photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony on Flickr.