New roundabout planned for 2014

As city acquires land, neighbors express noise concerns over $4.8 million project on Boulevard Road in Olympia

Staff writerDecember 17, 2012 

Drivers who just got accustomed to a roundabout on Boulevard Road at Log Cabin Road eventually will find another at 22nd Avenue, if the city’s plans are realized.

About 30 people came to a public meeting Thursday night at Westminster Presbyterian Church to learn more about the $4.8 million project, said project manager Jim Rioux.

Neighbors expressed concerns, particularly about noise.

The roundabout isn’t slated for construction until 2014, but the city is beginning the process to acquire land from neighbors. Much of the land will be strips necessary for new sidewalks, but one house will have to go to make room for the project, Rioux said.

“We’ll be working with those property owners and residents throughout the next year to hopefully come to a place where we can make this thing prove beneficial for everybody,” he said.

The roundabout is designed to accommodate fire trucks coming from the adjacent station on 22nd Avenue, Rioux said. It features “mountable curbs” that allow fire trucks to drive on the raised portion of the roundabout if necessary.

The roundabout will be one lane, compared with the two-lane roundabout at Log Cabin Road, Rioux said. It will be similar in size to the new roundabouts on 18th Avenue.

The project also includes bike lanes, planter strips, street lighting, underground utilities and stormwater collection and treatment, Rioux said.

People might notice preparatory work in as soon as two weeks. Crews will excavate an area for a stormwater pond and drill holes in the street.

The city has identified funds for the project, including $1.9 million from a federal grant and $1 million from the state. The rest will come from local funds, including $545,000 from the $20-per-year car tab fees the city imposed in recent years.

A 2006 Boulevard Road Corridor Study recommended roundabouts at Log Cabin Road, 22nd Avenue and Morse Merryman Road to handle growing traffic needs. As many as 11,000 vehicles use Boulevard each year, the study found, and that number is projected to rise to 15,000 by 2025.

The study also found there were 105 reported crashes at major intersections along the corridor. The top crash location was Log Cabin Road, prior to construction of the $5.2 million roundabout in 2010, Rioux said.

The city considered adding signals and left-turn lanes or roundabouts, and roundabouts became the preferred option for the three Boulevard Road intersections. The Morse Merryman roundabout has been designed, Rioux said, and will be pursued when funding becomes available.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 mbatcheldor@ theolympian.com @MattBatcheldor

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