Crews are wrapping up two years of work between SR 536 (Memorial Highway) and the SR 20/ I-5 interchange in Burlington. Last week, local officials and electeds celebrated completion of construction on the project, while crews continued completing minor tasks throughout the project zone.
The week of July 20, crews began removing barrels on the last two lanes of the widened highway. A new signal at Pulver Road is yet to be turned on. That is expected to happen in about a week.
The majority of crews will begin packing up their gear and heading to their next job, or maybe some well-deserved time off. Some workers will remain to complete minor “punch list” items for the next month or so. Crews are completing the project almost two months ahead of schedule.
WSDOT’s $118-million project, funded by the 2003 gas tax package, widened a five-mile stretch of SR 20 between SR 536 and the I-5 interchange and transformed the congested two-lane highway with a history of collisions into a wider, safer four-lane highway.
The project completes a vision that started more than 30 years ago. The stretch of SR 20 from Anacortes to Memorial Highway (SR 536) was widened in the 1960s and 70s.
Crews began in spring 2007, working to widen and improve the highway near its intersection with SR 536. Opening the new I-5 on- and off-ramps in June was the last major milestone for crews.
SR 20 to the west of I-5 serves several communities including Anacortes and its ferry terminal, the main transportation access to the San Juan Islands. SR 20 provides the only road-based access to Whidbey Island. Along the route are many smaller communities and important tourist, agricultural and business interests, such as the March Point refineries, Whidbey Naval Air Station and Deception Pass State Park. On an average day, more than 22,000 vehicles use the highway.
During construction, crews:
- Widened the highway from two lanes to four, with two lanes in each direction from SR 536 at Fredonia to the I-5 interchange (ten lane-miles).
- Installed a new signal at Higgins Airport Way.
- Divided 2.5 miles of the east- and westbound lanes with a 32-foot median and cable median barrier (from SR 536 to Pulver Road).
- Improved the on-ramps and exits at the I-5/SR 20 interchange.
- Permanently closed access to and from SR 20 at the intersection with Peterson Road and Goldenrod Road in Burlington.
- Built new roads to join Peterson Road and Nevitt Road to SR 20.
- Installed a new signal at the SR 20 intersection with Pulver Road in Burlington.
Between 2001 and 2006, there were 384 collisions on SR 20 between SR 536 and I-5 that involved almost 800 vehicles and resulted in eight fatalities.