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SR 20 - Sharpes Corner Vicinity - Interchange - Value Engineering

Feb. 1, 2008
Update - Value engineering study

We held a value engineering study in late-January of 2008 to bring together engineering experts, and local officials from multiple organizations to look at the best and most cost effective alternatives to improve the intersection.

The value engineering study team spent countless hours the week of Jan. 21 reviewing plans and brainstorming ways to improve the Sharpes Corner intersection. After exploring roughly 50 different options, many of which had already been looked at by WSDOT’s design team, they were able to whittle their recommendations down to one; a roundabout. 

The VE team concluded that a roundabout, with some modifications, would be the safest, most efficient and cost effective solution for the SR 20 Sharpes Corner intersection. The intersection has a history of dangerous collisions and long delays.

Read the news release.

VE Recommendation: Modified roundabout 
(pdf 408 kb)
Estimated cost: $11 million to $22 million
Expected to operate efficiently through 2046.

Changes to the original design

Not only did they recommend the roundabout, but they also recommended ways to improve the original roundabout design. Suggestions for improvement included:
  • building a two-lane tunnel under the roundabout for eastbound traffic coming from Anacortes.
  • building a separated bike and pedestrian trail in front of the golf course.
  • building a roundabout at the Miller and Gibraltar roads intersection.
  • making the Fidalgo Bay Road intersection on the Spur right-in and -out only.
  • combining this project with the Sharpes Corner to Anacortes ferry terminal paving project to save $300,000. 

The biggest difference to the original design was the tunnel recommendation for eastbound drivers. Though it adds costs to the project, it could help the intersection work better for a longer period of time, which increases the rate of return on the investment.

Checking costs
These are only recommendations and we are currently doing a thorough review to confirm the design recommendations and the costs associated with them.

The design team is examining the finer details of the recommendations and doing a cost risk assessment to see if it can be done within the proposed budget. If it can’t, the team has suggested that parts of their proposals could be added later, like the eastbound undercrossing.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Why did we conduct a value engineering (VE) study?
They are a valuable tool, and we consider using them on any project over $5 million. The Federal Highway Adminstration requires Value Engineering (VE) studies on all projects over $25 million.

Due to the number of options and variety of important issues to be analyzed, WSDOT engineers agreed that the project would benefit from the study.

Important issues:

  • traffic
  • safety
  • land use
  • environment
  • bicycles
  • pedestrians

Q: What is a value engineering study?
Value engineering is a systematic process that brings outside experts together to review a complex project and search for opportunities to improve the project. Value engineering teams search for ways to reduce project costs, enhance safety, reduce impacts on local communities and the environment, and make sure the completed project will operate as effectively as possible. It is a proven, effective tool that improves project design, construction, and function.

Q: How does value engineering work?
Value engineering begins with the assembly of a team whose members have diverse expertise and no ties to the project. The team uses five phases – investigation, speculation, evaluation, development, and presentation – to guide them through the review. The team develops and presents proposals to improve a project. These are considered by the project team and, if valid, are incorporated into the project design.