Construction will begin soon on the first roundabout in unincorporated Clallam County just north of Sequim.
In planning for a few years, work on the roundabout at Woodcock Road and Sequim-Dungeness Way begins Oct. 21 and tentatively finishes by March 22.
Ross Tyler, Clallam County director of public works/county engineer, said at an Oct. 4 commissioner work session that the approximate 160-foot roundabout will be the first on a county road.
“Everyone is generally excited about it,” he said.
Clallam County commissioners approved the lowest bid at their regular meeting on Oct. 5 to Interwest Construction, Inc. of Burlington for $869,000. The firm’s bid was about $129,000 less than the next bid, and $191,000 less than county staff’s estimate ($1.06 million), according to county documents.
Tyler said there shouldn’t be any shut downs due to weather unless there’s a major snowstorm.
“(Construction) should go straight through (winter) with no traffic detours,” he said.
Tyler said traffic will move to one side or the other of the roundabout as construction progresses with no anticipated long-term traffic issues.
“There may be some delays but it shouldn’t be much,” he said.
A decision to pursue a roundabout came in 2019 when commissioners and staff opted for it over a proposed $4 million traffic light system. It became a priority, county Transportation Program Manager Steve Gray said in a previous interview, because the intersection had the second highest traffic and second-highest traffic collision rate (10) for the county’s 500-mile road system from 2013-17; Old Olympic Highway has the highest traffic and collision rate.
At the work session, Tyler said its formation came from a lot of public input and engagement. He told commissioners that county staff could hold an educational meeting, if needed.
Full construction funding was secured from state and federal transportation grants, including being chosen by the state Department of Transportation to receive up to $490,000 in federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funding.
When asked by commissioner Mark Ozias of Sequim about potential design elements in the roundabout’s center, Tyler said it could be “a wonderful opportunity to think creatively about that.”
He added that there are some fiber optic cables planned to be in the center ground of the roundabout, but there will be space for other things.
“It’s interesting to explore what might be acceptable about what could be in the center of it,” Tyler said. “We may want to reach out to the state about regulations from a safety standpoint. I’m sure we wouldn’t be the first to have a piece of art in the middle.
“It’s a good opportunity to take the ball and run with it.”
Tyler added that once construction is finished they could discuss design elements again.
For more about the project, visit clallam.net/roads.