ARLINGTON – The Highway 530 roundabout east of Interstate 5 at Island Crossing may be coming around the bend sooner than planned.
The city of Arlington is pursuing a $268,025 contract with transportation planners SCJ Alliance of Lacey to complete an updated conceptual design and construction documents to build the roundabout at Highway 530 and Smokey Point Boulevard, as early as next year.
Temporary trailer-mounted traffic signals were installed in October to route traffic through the busy corridor until a steel-pole span wire signal system could be installed next March.
However, an early snafu left the lights in a solid “red” position and worsened traffic backups on the shoulder of the I-5 offramp during peak commuter hours. That led city officials to move ahead with installing a roundabout, about five years sooner than planned.
“We’ve come to the time when we have to do the roundabout,” Public Works Director Jim Kelly said.
He said the roundabout being pondered is a scaled-down version of a $10 million one designed in 2011 when the Stillaguamish Tribe hired SCJ. That project also included expanding 530 to four lanes from I-5 to a quarter- mile east.
The new design would be for a two-lane roundabout that would initially be built with a single lane with the ability to expand, at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. The roundabout would be built just east of the Island Crossing triangle with a realigned boulevard to the south and 27th Avenue to the north feeding it. The westbound side of the triangle and Smoke Shop entrance would convert to a right turn.
“The roundabout will slow traffic down but will keep it moving,” Mayor Barb Tolbert said of the city’s high-priority transportation project for a state highway corridor that averages 23,000 vehicles per day.
Kelly said the project would include right-of-way, drainage, sidewalks and other features for a two-lane roundabout with adequate turn radius for the semi-trucks pulling in and out of Pilot Travel Center. He added since the T=]0ribe and city own the right of way, that should help expedite the project.
Arlington would serve as lead agency, working with Snohomish County, the Tribe and state Department of Transportation to construct it.
Tolbert said city leaders have been in touch with legislators about the changes.
City Councilwoman Marilyn Oertle said, “The public will be happy to see something happen.”
The City Council is anticipated to approve the contract at its meeting Monday.