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US 2 roundabout opens to traffic in Sultan

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Date:  Thursday, April 12, 2012

Contact:  

Meghan Soptich Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Seattle); 206-948-5654 (cell)
Tim Nau, WSDOT asst. project engineer, 425-225-8726 (Everett)

SULTAN – Late-night drivers were the first to drive a new roundabout on US 2 at Rice Road in Sultan today. Crews opened the single-lane roundabout to traffic nearly eight hours ahead of schedule at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, bringing an early end to an around-the-clock closure that began Sunday night.

“We know the community has been waiting for a change at this intersection,” said Lorena Eng, regional administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “Our contractor worked quickly to build the roundabout and open it to traffic in just three and a half months. We are looking forward to a significant improvement in safety on this stretch of US 2.”

Lakeside/TriState Construction crews made use of dry days this week to complete weather-dependent work and reopen the highway ahead of schedule. US 2 had been reduced to one lane since Sunday night, April 8, while crews built the center island and roundabout lane; laid the first layer of pavement; and installed lighting, striping and signs.

“Drivers also deserve our thanks for their help this week,” Eng said. “We heard from drivers who shifted their schedules or found alternate routes, and that led to shorter delays than we expected.”

Backups were minimal during the closure, with drivers experiencing 15- to 20-minute delays during the evening commute.

The single-lane roundabout at the US 2/ Rice Road intersection is designed to help reduce the risk of serious collisions, particularly those involving vehicles turning on and off the highway.

The intersection saw 20 collisions in a five-year period, including 11 that involved turning vehicles. The intersection was also the site of a fatal collision in February 2010 and serious injury collisions in August 2010 and January 2012.

This project is part of a $10 million investment to reduce serious collisions on US 2 between Monroe and Gold Bar. For graphics and construction information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/US2/RiceRoadSafety.

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