SEQUIM — Construction will begin soon on the first roundabout in unincorporated Clallam County.
In planning for a few years, work on the roundabout at Woodcock Road and Sequim-Dungeness Way just north of Sequim is expected to begin Oct. 21 and finish by March 22.
Ross Tyler, Clallam County director of public works/county engineer, said at a commissioner work session last week that the approximately 160-foot roundabout will be the first on a county road.
“Everyone is generally excited about it,” he said.
Clallam County commissioners approved the lowest bid at their regular meeting last Tuesday. It was awarded to Interwest Construction, Inc. of Burlington for $869,000.
The firm’s bid was about $129,000 less than the next bid, and $191,000 less than county staff’s estimate of $1.06 million, according to county documents.
Tyler said there shouldn’t be any shutdowns due to weather unless there’s a major snowstorm.
“(Construction) should go straight through (winter) with no traffic detours,” he said.
Tyler said traffic will move to one side or the other of the roundabout as construction progresses with no anticipated long-term traffic issues.
“There may be some delays, but it shouldn’t be much,” he said.
A decision to pursue a roundabout came in 2019 when commissioners and staff opted for it over a proposed $4 million traffic light system.
It became a priority, county Transportation Program Manager Steve Gray said in a previous interview, because the intersection had the second-highest traffic volume and second-highest traffic collision rate (10) for the county’s 500-mile road system from 2013-17 compared with Old Olympic Highway.
Tyler said the project was developed after a great deal of public input and engagement. He told commissioners that county staff could hold an educational meeting, if needed.
Full construction funding was secured from state and federal transportation grants, including being chosen by the state Department of Transportation to receive up to $490,000 in federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funding.
When asked by commissioner Mark Ozias of Sequim about potential design elements in the roundabout’s center, Tyler said it could be “a wonderful opportunity to think creatively about that.”
He added there are some fiber optic cables planned to be in the center ground of the roundabout, but there will be space for other things.
“It’s interesting to explore what might be acceptable about what could be in the center of it,” Tyler said. “We may want to reach out to the state about regulations from a safety standpoint. I’m sure we wouldn’t be the first to have a piece of art in the middle.
“It’s a good opportunity to take the ball and run with it.”
Tyler added that, once construction is finished, design elements could be discussed again.
For more about the project, visit clallam.net/roads.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.