Agency credits open house as reason they chose new alternative
OKANOGAN – An unpopular plan to put a roundabout on Highway 97 at the intersection with Cameron Lake and Armory Junction roads has been stopped for now as the state Department of Transportation yielded to public pressure opposing it.
Dan Sarles, Regional Administrator with the DOT’s North Central Region, wrote to the Okanogan County Commissioners and other interested parties that the Open House held Sept. 19 and the public comments received greatly influence his agency’s decision to go another way with the problem intersection, the site of multiple collisions over the years.
“As a result of the open house we are proposing a new alternative at the Cameron Lake Road/Armory Junction Road intersection that is essentially a combination of portions of the alternatives presented. We intend to move forward a plan…that separates southbound mainline traffic from the right turn lane with a median gore area, adds left turn channelization, and adds two ITS signs alerting mainline traffic when vehicles are entering from the side roads. We feel these three measures will address the collision history,” writes Sarles.
Sarles adds that one of the primary goals of the open house was to gather information on the public perception of what problems existed at the intersections.
“Many of the comments helped to confirm the engineers’ perceptions or inform them of other issues to consider. Another goal of the open house was to share the alternatives we had explored to date and to potentially identify alternatives that had not been considered based on the public input. Among other things we heard about several near miss experiences at the intersections that doesn’t get covered by accident data,” he wrote.
The project cost will also be reduced by approximately $537,00, according to Sarles.
“Once constructed we will continue to monitor the intersection. At some point additional improvements may be needed which may or may not raise the roundabout as an option again.”
The DOT will be posting the change on the project web page: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/us97/cameronlakerdintersection.