The Washington State Department of Transportation opened an online open house on March 9 so people could learn more about its plans to replace the intersection at state Route 507 at Vail Road Southeast with a single-lane roundabout.
The project is estimated to cost between $2 million and $3 million.
The community outreach pre-design phase will be completed in April. The project’s design is scheduled to begin in June and the construction is tentatively set to begin in 2024. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, according to George Mazur, with WSDOT.
The changes to the intersection of state Route 507 and Vail Road Southeast came about after the results of a recent safety plan. WSDOT looks at rural stop-controlled intersections on state highways and develops ways to reduce potential car accidents. In this case, WSDOT proposed a single lane roundabout at the intersection located on the department’s property.
The roundabout will accommodate vehicles of all sizes like emergency vehicles, buses, bicycles, semi-trucks with trailers, and farm and logging equipment. The raised yellow center island, splitter islands, and shoulder curbing are planned to be fully mountable by larger vehicles.
The roundabout’s center island would be 60 feet in diameter and will feature drivable rolled curbing. The eastbound state Route 507 left-turn lane would begin 200 feet prior to the roundabout. Bicyclists would have the option to take a lane in the roundabout or continue to ride on the roadway shoulder.
State Route 507 sees approximately 21,600 vehicles pass through the intersection daily, according to a 2021 WSDOT traffic count. It serves commuters, freight and recreational vehicles, and links Pierce, Thurston and Lewis counties.
According to WSDOT, roundabouts help reduce the likelihood and severity of crashes.
Drivers travel at slower speeds because they have to yield to traffic before they enter a roundabout. Vehicle speeds within a roundabout are typically between 15 and 20 mph and lead to minor crash-related injuries due to the slow moving pace, stated WSDOT.
Drivers will travel counterclockwise around the roundabout. Since motorists drive in the same direction, this helps hinder the possibility of collisions at the intersection, WSDOT stated.
WSDOT stated the flow of traffic would see an improvement and a delay reduction due to the roundabout being implemented. The department said that contrary to some people’s perceptions, roundabouts help move traffic through an intersection at a faster pace with less congestion on surrounding roads.
The online open house will remain open through Friday, March 24. It can be accessed online at engage.wsdot.wa.gov/sr-507-vail-road-roundabout.
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