Roundabout intersection to close July 8 for construction
After earnest appeals from business people on 13th Avenue SW about the impact on their businesses that the roundabout project is having, the Quincy City Council accepted a proposal from Tommer Construction to accelerate the work schedule and close the intersection from Monday, July 8, to Friday, July 19.
This will allow the contractor unhindered access to the project site, 13th Avenue SW and State Route 28, so construction can be completed by the end of July. An option before the council would have had construction continue to the end of August.
Delays for the project were caused by unidentified utility infrastructure that interfered with the installation of the drainage system, according to a press release from the city of Quincy.
“Whenever you excavate in a road, you never know what’s underground,” said City Engineer Ariel Belino in the press release. “The Department of Transportation had specific requirements for the type of drainage system we could install, and when it couldn’t be done because of existing underground utilities we had to submit an alternate plan for review and approval by WSDOT.”
According to the press release, studies done by Washington State Department of Transportation have indicated that roundabouts are safer for traffic control than traditional signal lights. In 55 before-and-after locations across the county, roundabouts had a 35 percent overall decrease in crashes, a 76 percent decrease in injury crashes, an 81 percent decrease in urban fatal crashes and a 71 percent decrease in rural fatal crashes.
Construction costs for roundabouts are comparable to signal lights, but roundabouts require less maintenance. According to the city’s press release, other appealing qualities of roundabouts include lower speeds in the intersection, more forgiving traffic flow, driving mistakes are low-impact and less lethal, and less demand for accurately judging closing speeds of traffic.
The city was able to obtain a grant from the Transportation Improvement Board to partially fund for project.
“The biggest challenge for drivers initially using a roundabout,” said Police Chief Kieth Siebert in the press release, “is the need to yield to the left. The vehicle on your left in a roundabout always has the right-of-way.”
Washington DOT engineer Brian Walsh was quoted in the Seattle Times in 2002, the press release stated, saying, “our experience here in Washington have had a lot of people not very happy about the idea of roundabouts, but after they are constructed, those fears mostly go away.”