Al Gilson, Communications Manager
WSDOT Eastern Region
2714 N. Mayfair
Spokane, WA 99207
Those long waits are almost over. The new roundabout on Harvard Road is almost ready for drivers to take a spin.
Drivers getting on and off Interstate 90 on their way to or from Liberty Lake should find their travel times back to normal within another week or so with the end of construction on the new roundabout just north of I-90.
“We would like to thank drivers for their patience and flexibility during this short construction project,” said Darrel McCallum, project engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “The roundabout should smooth out traffic flow at this busy location.”
With development on the rise in the booming Liberty Lake community, traffic often struggles to keep pace. Drivers found themselves sitting through long delays waiting for a gap in traffic at the intersection of Harvard Road, Mission Avenue and an I-90 off-ramp. The roundabout will cut the wait time at this busy intersection by eliminating the long queues that frustrated motorists exiting the freeway or turning into the many businesses on Mission Avenue.
At the right intersections, roundabouts offer advantages to traffic and communities that signals and stop signs simply can’t:
• Low travel speeds – Drivers must slow down and yield to traffic before entering a roundabout. Travel speeds in a roundabout are typically between 15 and 20 miles per hour.
• No light to beat – Roundabouts are designed to promote a continuous, circular flow of traffic. Drivers need only yield to traffic before entering a roundabout; if there is no traffic in the roundabout, drivers are not required to stop. Because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers don't have the incentive to speed up to try and "beat the light," like they might at a traditional intersection.
• One-way travel – Roads entering a roundabout are gently curved to direct drivers into the intersection and help them travel counterclockwise around the roundabout.
• Conserved fuel, reduced emissions – According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, intersections converted to roundabouts can reduce delays up to 62-74 percent, cut fuel consumption up to 235,000 gallons per year and cause fewer emissions and pollutants to be released into the atmosphere.
Drivers who are unfamiliar with roundabouts can learn more about them on the WSDOT YouTube channel.
A short “Celebration of Progress” ceremony is planned for Friday, Oct. 25, at 11 a.m. to mark the completion of the project.
Friday, Oct. 25
Northwest corner of Harvard Road and Mission Avenue in Liberty Lake.
Parking is available at the True Legends Grill. Carpooling to the event is strongly encouraged as parking is limited. The site is served by STA Route #98 and is also accessible via the pedestrian/bike trail from the Liberty Lake business district.
WSDOT administered the design and construction of this project for the City of Liberty Lake. The Wm. Winkler Company of Newman Lake, Wash., is the prime contractor on this $1.5 million project. The project was funded by federal dollars and the City of Liberty Lake.