Northwest NEWS

December 9, 2002

Business

King County collects input on widening W-D Road
by Jeanette Knutson
Staff Writer
 
 

It's not going to happen soon, but it is going to happen.
King County is proposing road improvements for a mile and a half stretch of the Woodinville-Duvall Road from 168th Avenue NE (Mack's Corner) to just west of the Avondale Road NE intersection.
Eighty area residents attended an open house Oct. 29 to learn about and comment on the proposed alternatives for this Woodinville-Duvall Road project.
The project has been on the county's radar screen since 1997. It is currently funded through the design stage; however, it is not yet funded for construction.
It could be seven, eight or nine years until it is funded for construction, said Matt Nolan, a King County managing engineer assigned to the project. Of course, if we got significant grant funding, we would be able to move the project up.
Planners, commuters and locals agree that something needs to be done to reduce congestion and enhance safety along this two-lane road.
The county's Department of Transportation estimates 22,000 vehicles a day travel the Woodinville-Duvall Road. In fact, the department considers the road to be a principal east-west arterial and expects to see 30,000 vehicles per day using the road by 2025. Studies indicate current evening rush-hour speeds along the road can be less than 30 mph.
And analysis shows over 60 percent of accidents within this segment of the road are rear-end accidents, largely due to cars making left turns from the through lane. Since there are no sidewalks, residents have no safe access to the roadway or to recreational facilities or businesses along it.
The county is analyzing five road remedies.
The No-build Alternative
Under the no-action alternative, no roadway improvements would be made. One travel lane in each direction would remain, as would variable shoulder widths for pedestrians and bicyclists. No new turn lanes would be added.
The Three-lane Alternative
This option accommodates drivers who are turning. It adds a center lane and improves the shoulder to a consistent width, whilst maintaining one travel lane in each direction. The intersecting side roads will be improved as necessary to accommodate turning vehicles.
The Four-lane Alternative
This option accommodates through traffic. It would provide an additional lane in each direction as well as shoulder and intersection improvements. Left turning vehicles would use the inside through lane. The intersecting side roads will be improved as necessary to accommodate turning vehicles.
The Five-lane Alternative
This option accommodates through traffic and turners by adding a travel lane in each direction as well as a center turn lane. The intersecting side roads will be improved as necessary to accommodate turning vehicles.
Intersection-improvement Alternative
This option also accommodates drivers who are turning. Main intersections (185th Avenue NE, 182nd Avenue NE, 176th Avenue NE, 171st Avenue NE and 168th Avenue NE) would be improved, left and right turn pockets would be added; but additional through lanes would not be added.
Non-motorized Options
The ultimate cost of the project will not only be determined by the number of lanes added, said managing engineer Nolan. Non-motorized treatment options will have to be chosen and factored into the project cost, he said.
Those options include items such as providing shoulders-only for the roadway, or providing a shoulder with a path alongside for pedestrians. Then it has to be decided if the path should be separated from the road, if the path should be concrete. Should the sidewalk have a planter strip? Should the county provide a grass-lined roadside ditch? Should it provide a bike lane, curbs, gutters and storm sewers for drainage?
Environmental Issues
According to Erin Nelson, an engineer for King County assigned to the project, the county is beginning a series of environmental studies, which will be incorporated into a larger report, an Environmental Assessment.
Being studied are things such as air quality along the corridor, streams, wetland delineation, endangered species, historical and cultural resources, socio-economic issues, noise, and parks and recreation.
The public weighed in on environmental issues.

  • Woodinville-Duvall Road is critical habitat to the Bear Creek salmon runs. Regarding the five alternatives being considered, the three-, four- and five-lane road alternatives need to be dropped immediately. We should not encourage zillions of cars and their pollutants to drive through this corridor. Further, the construction of such a project will have serious negative impacts on the quality of water that feeds into these salmon streams.
  • Expanding the road would encourage increased car usage and (would) increase output of pollution that damages the ozone layer, the air we breathe, and ultimately our own health. Again, is it worth it? In addition to this, major pollutants would be output during ... construction ... .
  • Lake Leota residents are concerned about noise, water and air pollution.

Other Area Projects
Road improvements are planned for the Woodinville-Duvall Road / Avondale Road NE intersection. This project is already 100 percent funded and in the planning stage.
Senior Engineer James Eagan of the countyÕs Capital Projects Engineering Unit said the project boundaries will run from just before the Woodinville-Duvall Road / Avondale Road intersection to 198th Avenue NE. Numerous improvements are being considered, including a left lane turn pocket for the Reintree community. Construction could begin in 2005.
Plans are also in the works to improve the Woodinville-Duvall Road / Mink Road intersection. The county is considering putting in traffic signals and perhaps a turn pocket. Eagan hoped funding would come through next year.