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Roadway safety funding benefits 40 Washington cities

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Date:  Thursday, June 07, 2012

Contact: Aaron Butters, WSDOT Engineering Services Manager, 360-705-7375

OLYMPIA – Forty Washington cities will receive a share of $50 million in federal safety funds to construct 75 street improvement projects. These projects will reduce intersection-related collisions on city streets and on state highways that serve as city arterials.

As part of the state’s strategic highway safety plan, the Washington State Department of Transportation invited cities with high rates of single-intersection-related crashes to apply for federal safety grants. Cities with a high number of intersection-related crashes along a corridor with multiple intersections and cities with a high number of crashes at intersections throughout the city were also eligible for funding. WSDOT administers federal transportation grant funding for the state.

In western Washington, 31 cities had eligible projects, including Anacortes, Arlington, Auburn, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Burien, Burlington, Covington, Des Moines, Edmonds, Everett, Federal Way, Fife, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lacey, Lakewood, Longview, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Puyallup, Renton, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Tacoma, and Vancouver. In eastern Washington, nine cities will also have projects: East Wenatchee, Kennewick, Millwood, Richland, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima.

Selected projects include low-cost safety elements such as:

  • Modifying traffic signals to make them more visible to drivers and synchronizing signal timing to reduce crashes and congestion.
  • Making pavement markings and signs more visible to drivers at night.
  • Upgrading crosswalks to make them more visible to drivers and to give pedestrians more time to cross the street.

WSDOT analyzed collisions for a five-year period and found intersection-related crashes accounted for more than half of all serious injury and fatality collisions on city streets and city-maintained state highways. Contributing factors included intersections with outdated traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and pedestrian-crossing signals that lack countdown timers, which allow pedestrians to gauge how much time they have to cross the street.

Projects range in cost from $250,000 to $4.9 million. Construction for some projects will begin this summer with most projects being completed during the next three years, by fall 2015.

For more information on these projects, visit WSDOT’s City Safety Program website at: .

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