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Proposed roundabout draws mixed reactions from public

Brian Walsh of WSDOT speaks with concerned residents during a recent open house regarding a proposed roundabout at the SR 9/SR 531 intersection. - Adam Rudnick
Brian Walsh of WSDOT speaks with concerned residents during a recent open house regarding a proposed roundabout at the SR 9/SR 531 intersection.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — Residents expressed mixed feelings regarding a roundabout being proposed in one of the busier local intersections.

The Washington State Department of Transportation held an open house Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Arlington High School to gather input about the roundabout, which would be located at the SR 531/SR 9 intersection in Arlington.

The roundabout is scheduled to begin construction in 2011.

WSDOT officials said the roundabout will be able to better handle future growth, development and traffic in the area.

Data released by the department shows that the Arlington population could increase by 75 percent by 2025.

Approximately 16,000 drivers use the intersection each day. From 2004 to 2008 there were 28 collisions that resulted in 29 injuries, according to WSDOT.

At least 15 area residents attended the open house to either gather information on the project or express concern.

Arlington residents Ed and Tamara Pidgeon said that they’re curious why WSDOT is soliciting input from the public.

“They’ve already decided to do it,” Ed Pidgeon said.

Pidgeon said that he’s also worried that the roundabout will not be able to handle additional vehicles beyond WSDOT’s projections.

“They project being able to handle 16,000 vehicles a day, but can it handle 40,000 vehicles a day?” Pidgeon said. “You don’t build for today.”

Other residents attended the open house to gather information.

Arlington High School seniors Tameka Siplin, Mariela Cerezo and Laura Nys came to the meeting for a government class they’re taking.

The students said the information WSDOT presented was interesting.

“It surprised me to see all of the collisions,” Cerezo said. “You hear a lot of sirens from the high school, but it’s interesting to see the collisions.”

Following the open house, WSDOT held a two-hour access hearing for residents who own property in the proposed roundabout area.

WSDOT is scheduled to begin purchasing property starting this winter.

The state legislature approved $15.6 million in 2005 to make improvements to the SR 9/SR 531 intersection.

For more information about the project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr9/sr531intersection.

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