Construction on a roundabout at the intersection of Sequim-Dungeness Way and Woodcock Road could begin this July and finish by September. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Construction on a roundabout at the intersection of Sequim-Dungeness Way and Woodcock Road could begin this July and finish by September. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Clallam County’s first roundabout slated

Project will take about two months to complete

SEQUIM — The first roundabout in unincorporated Clallam County could be under construction north of Sequim starting this summer.

Ross Tyler, Clallam County director of public works/county engineer, said the approximate $700,000 Sequim-Dungeness Way/Woodcock Road roundabout project has been part of the county’s six-year Transportation Improvement Program. In 2019, county commissioners and staff opted for the roundabout rather than a proposed $4 million traffic light system due to cost.

“Our best estimate at this point is that this project should be under construction in July,” Tyler said via email.

“Barring any delays due to utilities, we are expecting to have this project completed by the end of September.”

In April 2020, Clallam County received a $490,000 grant through the state Department of Transportation and the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program toward the roundabout.

The intersection has the second-highest traffic and second-highest traffic collision rate (10) for the county’s 500-mile road system from 2013-17 compared with Old Olympic Highway, county Transportation Program Manager Steve Gray told commissioners last April.

When construction begins, Tyler said, the contractor will handle traffic without specific detours, but drivers may elect to choose alternate routes during construction.

He said drivers should expect short delays during the approximate two-month construction period.

Tyler said in an interview that the grant puts the county on a short timeline to complete the roundabout, but the county’s engineering staff have done “really well at getting design work done and projects out the door.”

Towne Road

One nearby project — the Towne Road expansion from Woodcock Road to Dairy Road, about 1.23 miles — will be delayed from next year to 2023 or 2024 because of funding constraints, Tyler said.

This proposed project, he said, makes adjustments to the vertical alignment of the road and better configures intersections of side roads to improve sight distance.

A planned neighborhood meeting, about a month before construction for whenever it’s planned, will look to address concerns such as the degree of widening of the road.

“Hopefully we can find a happy medium between pedestrian comfort and maintaining rural character,” Tyler said.

In a letter to county commissioner Mark Ozias about the Towne Road project, Tyler wrote, “We have not forgotten about our commitment to address neighborhood concerns. We are just not in a place where we can address those concerns in a timely manner.

“We will definitely get everyone together for input when we are in a position to actually follow this input on through to an end product.”

Because the project is financed only by county road funds and with no outside funding, it’ll be bumped to accommodate time-sensitive projects, Tyler said.

The next Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program will show that, he said.

A separate Towne Road project north of the Dungeness Valley Creamery that realigns the road is still on schedule to begin construction this year, Tyler said.

It will also reconnect a section of the lower Dungeness River with its natural floodplain by moving levees to help habitat and support recovery of protected and endangered fish.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected] sequimgazette.com.

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