Colville hosts Highway 395 roundabout open house

By: 
KATIE DUNN
S-E Staff Reporter

Meeting is Oct. 20

Deer Park could be the next North­east Washington city to get the round­about fix.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is propos­ing the installation of a roundabout on U.S. Highway 395 at each end of Deer Park as a solution to traffic issues.

WSDOT invites the public to learn more about the design and status of this project during an open house in Colville.

The open house will showcase de­signs for the Short/Main and Monroe/Crawford intersections.

WSDOT representatives will be available to explain the designs and to answer questions from area residents, business leaders and drivers.

Displays showing the possible im­provements will also be available.

The open house is Oct. 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. inside Spokane Community Colleges’ Colville Campus at 985 South Elm Street.

Project

Roundabouts are being proposed on U.S. Highway 395 through Deer Park as a low-cost solution to improve safety.

The proposal suggests one round­about on U.S. 395 at Short Road and Main Street on the south end of Deer Park, and a second one on the high­way at Monroe Road and Crawford Street on the north end.

The proposal includes the closure of the Burroughs and Dalton roads in­tersection, with traffic rerouted onto Short Road on the west side of the highway. Short Road will need to be repaved for this to work, according to WSDOT.

The roundabouts are the upshot from WSDOT’s Deer Park Intersection Improvement study.

The study found that between 2010 and 2014, 65 accidents occurred on Highway 395 through Deer Park. An additional 10 intersection-related crashes, eight of which were caused by vehicles entering at an angle, have occurred since November 2015.

Traffic studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled inter­sections.

According to a study by the Insur­ance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where previously stop signs or signals were used.

IIHS and Federal Highway Admini­stration studies have also shown that roundabouts typically reduce overall collisions by 37 percent. These studies also show a 75 percent reduction in injury collisions and a 90 percent re­duction in fatality collisions.

One reason WSDOT has stated for not pursuing the installation of signal lights is because statistically, they in­crease the number of rear-end collisions.

Signals also create “overall intersec­tion delay.”

Feedback

The first open house to detail the project was held in Deer Park in June.

The open house received mixed feedback, with over 60 comments left by the public. Subjects included roundabout alternatives like lower speed limits, acceleration/deceleration lanes, intersection control signals, grade separation.

WSDOT found that a greater per­centage of the public accepted the idea of roundabouts than in the past. At the same time, members of the public sought different solutions, and others claimed you “can’t fix stupid.”

Changes implemented after the June open house include allowing right turns from northbound U.S. 395 to northbound Dalton Road.

More information can be viewed in advance of the Colville open house on the Deer Park Intersection Improve­ment study website (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/planning/Studies/US395DeerPark-Intersection­Study.htm) and comments can be submitted prior to the open house to Larry Frostad (frostal@wsdot.wa.gov), assistant traffic engineer.

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