Construction On Major Wenatchee Roundabout Starts Monday
Initial work on a roundabout at U.S. 2 and 97 at Easy Street in North Wenatchee begins Monday.
The project will bring a complex series of traffic detours in the area, which could bring lengthy delays and frustration to drivers.
Washington Department of Transportation spokesperson Lauren Loebsack says the detours won't affect all traffic passing through.
"Depending on what your regular commute is, there's definitely some different turns," said Loebsack. "But, by and large, the thing to keep in mind is that east-west movement is maintained, and the north-south movement is detoured."
Construction on the project is scheduled to take place six days a week in order to have it completed within a 65-day time frame.
There's been some frustration locally that an overpass wasn't chosen instead for the intersection.
Loebsack says they've done studies that show roundabouts are effective at improving traffic flow, at least in the short term.
"In other parts of the state, in eastern Washington, in Spokane, in the Tri-Cities and in the Union Gap area, we see these multi-lane roundabouts working," Loebsack said.
A Department of Transportation study in 2012 determined that a roundabout would be a lower cost interim solution that would provide an immediate improvement to traffic flow at the intersection of U.S. 2/97.
The cost of the roundabout will be $6.4 million, which is about one-fifth the cost of building an overpass at the intersection ($25-30 million).
Work on the project is scheduled to wrap up in mid-June
Find a detailed rundown of the detours below:
For the first week of construction, travelers can expect intermittent flagger controlled traffic in the area as the contractor mobilizes for the detour.
Additionally, a temporary traffic circle will be installed at the intersection of Euclid Avenue with the eastbound on-ramp to the Odabashian Bridge. The temporary traffic circle is scheduled to be in place Thursday, April 6.
Beginning Monday April 10, the contractor will begin setting up for the US 2/97 and Easy Street intersection closure. Travelers can expect flagger controlled traffic with delays on the north-south Easy Street access to US 2/97 on Monday, April 10.
On the morning of Tuesday, April 11, Easy Street will be closed at the intersection of US 2/97 north to Ohme Garden Road, and south approximately 250 ft. from the intersection to the business access driveways. Traffic will be detoured onto Ohme Garden Road to the US 97A roundabout.
A temporary four-way stop will also be installed at the intersection of Easy Street and School Street in Sunnyslope to help the flow of detour traffic. The detour will remain in place 24/7 until the intersection reopens as a roundabout.
An update has been made to the traffic control planned for the SR 285 northbound ramp to US 2/97 and Easy Street intersection.
For the first phase of the detour, the ramp will remain open and traffic with be merged with eastbound US 2/97 for access onto US 2/97 Odabashian Bridge.
After the first phase of construction is complete, the SR 285 ramp will be closed and northbound SR 285 traffic will then be detoured to the Easy Street off-ramp.