Thursday, June 6, 2024

21-day closure of SR 19 at SR 104 ahead during roundabout construction

By Mark Krulish

Roundabouts. They are a favorite topic to debate, around and around. What isn't up for debate is their safety benefits, which is why we are building them. Roundabouts have safer left hand turns and reduce the risk of t-bone and head-on collisions.

This spring, construction began a few miles from the Hood Canal Bridge to build two roundabouts on SR 104 – one at SR 19/Beaver Valley Road, and the other at Shine Road/Paradise Bay Road.

Crews began work in May at the SR 104 and SR 19/Beaver Valley Road location. At this location, we are building a three-legged roundabout. Since May 20, that intersection has had temporary turn restrictions. Only right turns have been allowed. Travelers looking to turn left at this intersection in either direction have been detouring to Center Road instead.

Beginning June 6, this detour will apply to all travelers who use SR 19/Beaver Valley Road from SR 104. Access to Beaver Valley Road from SR 104 will be closed around-the-clock for 21 days. Once the closure is complete, the SR 104/SR 19 intersection will return to only allowing right turns. That will remain until the roundabout is completed in late July.

Work at Paradise Bay Road/Shine Road begins in August

We'll begin building the roundabout on SR 104 at Shine Road/Paradise Bay Road later this summer. Right now, it's scheduled to begin in August. By that point, the SR 19 roundabout should be just about done. We also expect nearby construction on the Hood Canal Bridge to be finished by then. We will have short-term closures of access to Shine Road and Paradise Bay Road during this part of the project. Those closures will happen well after Labor Day. We'll announce the exact dates for those closures when we have them.

A design visual of a four-way roundabout on a state highway. The visual shows where two side streets connect to the roundabout. It is surrounded by trees and shows cars using the roundabout.

Why we build roundabouts

We know these roundabouts will make the road look and feel different. We decided to build roundabouts here because of the number of collisions and amount of traffic. We also have a budget and a roundabout was less expensive than an overpass. Our goal is to improve safety for everyone who uses the road. We also looked at the option of a signal at SR 104 and Paradise Bay/Shine Road, but the roundabout outperformed the signal, particularly during the peak commuting hours. The delay associated with a signal is about three times longer. Our modeling shows about 21 seconds of delay with a signal and only 7 seconds with the roundabout during peak hours.

A design visual of a roundabout in a rural area surrounded by trees and open space. The roundabout connects to three segments of road – one on the left, one on the right and one at the top.
A three-legged roundabout is currently under construction on State Route 104
at its intersection with SR 19

We've heard from the community that you are concerned about the need to slow down for roundabouts. There's a reason for that. The slower speed and the angle at which cars enter the roundabout helps reduce the severity of collisions. The slower speeds at the roundabouts make left turns at these two intersections safer and easier than they are now. However, roundabouts also allow traffic to flow freely. If there are no vehicles in the roundabout, you simply slow down and go through. At a signal, you might have to stop and wait even if there are no other cars around.

This video shows how the roundabout will work at Paradise Bay/Shine Road once construction is complete.

It's going to be a major change, but one we believe people visiting or living on the Olympic Peninsula will benefit from. We will keep you updated on progress of the project on the project website.


Resident said...

Regarding the detour to Center Road, please remind drivers that Center Road is also used by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, agricultural equipment, etc. The higher volume of traffic by detoured drivers needs to safely "share the road" with other users. Any thought to temporarily reducing speed limits?

Concerned said...

I'm sure it's too late for this comment but I believe it's a better use of funds to install traffic lights. Although roundabouts may save drivers 14 seconds on average, the cost to install a roundabout is exponentially higher than traffic signals and impacts the taxes we pay..

WSDOT said...

The cost difference between building a roundabout and building a traffic signal is comparable. You also have to keep in mind that traffic signals need much more maintenance than a roundabout. Maintenance of a traffic signal can cost between five thousand and 10,000 dollars per year.

Alise said...

I had a friend who had a serious head-on collision near SR 104 and SR 19 a couple years ago. It was a multiple car wreck and several had to be flown to Harborview, so I am very glad the roundabout is being constructed. It is for our safety. My question is: Since this will be a three-legged roundabout, at peak traffic on SR 104, how long of a delay will it be for cars in the roundabout entering from SR 19, to merge on to SR 104? Somehow I am anticipating backup traffic in the roundabout during these peak times.

Captain McFly said...

Pretty sad. Highest gas tax in the nation and this state is too cheap to construct overpasses and acceleration lanes. How is it a continuous traffic flow with stop light metering? What a joke!

Krista said...

WADOT has got it right finally!! The safety crossing that bridge & State Road 19 intersection has been an accident looking for a place to happen for a long time. Our tax dollars at work for a good thing.

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