The Adams County Board of Commissioners has announced Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Safety Improvement funding has been secured to complete a much needed safety improvement at the intersection of Bench Road and State Route 24.
The county submitted the roundabout project under the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) call for Innovative Safety Program Projects. This program is focused on delivering low-cost improvements that have a high potential to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions. This intersection has been a topic of concern in the county for several years, having a history of both fatal and serious injury collisions. It has an average use of more than 10,000 vehicles per day with a high percentage of trucks causing delays.
Both Adams County and the City of Othello have received numerous citizen complaints regarding the safety and congestion at the intersection. In response, Adams County, the City of Othello and WSDOT have met extensively over the past few years to identify potential improvements that will increase safety and meet the high traffic demands. Multiple traffic studies and analysis were completed, determining a roundabout was an appropriate fit for this location.
Roger L. Hartwig, Adams County Board of Commissioners Chairman, has been a long standing advocate for safety improvements at this intersection and champion for the grant submittal, stated “this project is vital to our growing community.” Vehicles turning on SR 24 cause the majority of collisions at the intersection. Constructing a non-circular island roundabout is expected to significantly reduce these types of incidents and improve traffic flow.
Studies have shown roundabouts are safer than traditional stop of signal-controlled intersections. The FHWA Office of Safety has identified roundabouts as a Proven Safety Countermeasure because of their ability to substantially reduce the types of crashes that result in injury or loss of life. More information regarding roundabouts is available at WSDOT’s website: http://wsdot.wa.gov/Safety/roundabouts.
The roundabout project has been awarded approximately $1.7 million to complete the design and construction. The amount includes 50 percent grant funding and 50 percent committee by WSDOT North Central region, who will be administering the project.
The WSDOT design team, along with Adams County representatives, anticipate providing ample community outreach to address concerns of constructing the first roundabout within the county.