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Budget Information

SR 20 - Sharpes Corner Vicinity - Interchange

Project is in design.
A view of the project area

Status

September 2015

  • In 2005 WSDOT began design work to improve the SR 20 Sharpes Corner intersection. Several design alternatives were developed and presented at community open houses.
  • In May 2009 the State Legislature indefinitely delayed funding for the project.
  • In July 2015, this project received funding to restart the project. Engineers will evaluate previous design alternatives to improve traffic flow and safety at this intersection. WSDOT will also re-engage the community in an outreach effort and to explore new practical design alternatives to address the challenges at this location.
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Overview
The Sharpes Corner intersection experiences significant congestion, especially during the busy summer tourist season. Lengthy backups can extend out into 50 mph traffic, which increases the risk of high-speed, rear-end collisions.

We designed improvements for the SR 20 Sharpes Corner intersection near Anacortes before the project was shut down in 2009 when the funding was cut. Funding for design and construction was approved by the Legislature in July 2015 as part of the Connecting Washington Revenue Package.

Based on the previous analysis and design work, the plan called for a roundabout at the busy intersection to help improve safety and relieve congestion. Because it has been several years since engineers have worked on this project, we need a new analysis to determine if a roundabout is still the best solution or if another design option should be considered. The new funding reflects a slightly different project that includes the Miller-Gibralter Road intersection, based largely on feedback we received during the original project.

Why is WSDOT improving the Sharpes Corner intersection?
SR 20 is the only direct land access to the city of Oak Harbor, the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and the rest of Whidbey Island. The SR 20 spur is the primary access to Anacortes and ferry service to the San Juan Islands and Vancouver, B.C. As a result, the intersection of these two roadways has significant regional importance.

On average, more than 30,000 vehicles pass through the Sharpes Corner intersection every day, creating heavy traffic congestion. Backups can be severe and increase the chance of collisions. Traffic turning west toward Whidbey Island often backs up beyond the turn lane, leaving vehicles stopped on the highway, increasing the chance of rear-end collisions.

We’ve also heard from many of you that bike/pedestrian improvements are important, and we are looking into ways to incorporate bike/pedestrian elements into the final design.

The End Result
Improving this intersection and the surrounding area will improve traffic flow and will help reduce the frequency and severity of collisions.

Project Benefits

  • Safety: Improvements to these intersections will increase traffic flow and decreases the risk of rear-end collisions, making the roadway safer for drivers. Bicycle and pedestrian improvements will increase safety and mobility in the area. 
  • Congestion relief: Drivers will see significant increases in roadway capacity and traffic flow. This means shorter drive times and less time sitting in traffic. 
  • Environment: We will make improvements to stormwater culverts and detention ponds where necessary to meet current WSDOT environmental standards.

What is the project timeline?
Fall 2015: Begin re-evaluating data and designs from earlier project work.

July 2015: The Legislature allocated funding to restart the design work, right-of-way acquisition and construction.

May 2009: The 2009 Legislative budget delayed this project indefinitely.

Sept. 25, 2008: We hosted an open house in Anacortes to update the community on our design progress to date.

Feb. 25, 2008: We hosted an open house in Oak Harbor to update the community on plans to build a roundabout at Sharpes Corner.

January 2008: We hosted a Value Engineering study to evaluate all the options and look for ways to improve on the recommended option.

Nov. 15, 2007: We hosted an open house in Anacortes to showcase six design options.

2005: The Legislature provided funding to improve the intersection as part of the 2005 Transportation Partnership Program.

Financial Information

 

    How can I get more information?
    Contact:
    Tom Pearce
    WSDOT communications
    15700 Dayton Ave. N.
    Shoreline, WA 98133
    Phone: 206-440-4696
    E-mail: pearcet@wsdot.wa.gov  

    Jay Drye
    Engineering Manager
    1043 Goldenrod Road, Suite 101
    Burlington, WA 98233-3415
    Phone: (360) 757-5993
    E-mail: dryej@wsdot.wa.gov  

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