WSDOT sets priorities on roundabouts

Two roundabouts have been reclassified by the state Department of Transportation, the regional administrator told Clallam County commissioners.

A proposed roundabout at Old Olympic Highway and U.S. Highway 101 has been re-categorized from a near-term project to a long-term one, and a separate roundabout at Mill Road and Highway 101 has been added as a near-term project, said Steve Roark, DOT’s Olympic Region administrator.

“Local (city and county) staff was concerned about roundabouts in a rural location, in this case, Old Olympic Highway,” Roark said during a June 10 commissioner work session.

“So, the proposed roundabout we decided not to move forward with that,” Roark said. “We’ve moved that to a long-term phase. And so we’ll continue to watch that. It still has some needs in terms of improvements.”

Roark said DOT’s initial proposal had near-term roundabouts on U.S. Highway 101 at Boyce and Taylor Cut-off roads, but local staff shared concerns with directing traffic to some of the lesser used or narrower roads.

“We’ve changed the locations of the roundabouts to connect at higher demand and wider roads; in this case, Mill and Taylor Cut-off,” he said.

“The Joslin and Boyce improvements are currently in the long-term phase … but those do remain high priority for us,” Roark continued. “And we’ll continue to monitor local land use decisions in and around the (Carlsborg) urban growth area to determine the best timing and configuration of the Joslin and Boyce improvements, which I think is really median control to eliminate left turns at that location.”

A near-term project for Port Angeles is extending the Morse Creek median, and another long-term project includes improvements to Old Olympic Highway, he said.

The next steps will be to attend meetings with the local advisory committee prior to an online open house tentatively set for the week of July 8, Roark said.

“We want to gather more feedback before we go out to our public open house,” he said.

Roark said DOT analyzed U.S. Highway 101 projects between Sequim and Port Angeles using existing roadway conditions, supporting multi-modal use, crash reduction and speed and community context, then identified a preliminary list of improvements.

The agency then worked with local agencies to refine the alternatives, including virtual and in-person workshops with the county and cities in May, and an advisory committee meeting was conducted earlier this month, he said.

“We have gathered quite a bit of feedback through meeting with members of your team and cities who have expressed concerns about the initial proposed improvements we rolled out a few months back,” Roark said.

Plans for four roundabouts on Highway 101 between Port Angeles and Sequim were proposed in April at the intersections at Kolonels Way, Old Olympic Highway, Taylor Cut-off Road and Simdars Road.

Other improvements include pedestrian crossings, ramp upgrades, traffic cameras and improvements to transit stops.