MARYSVILLE — Concerns about access to State Route 9, in the wake of a planned roundabout at its intersection with 84th Street NE, made up most of the discussions among nearby property owners and interested citizens at an open house conducted by Washington State Department of Transportation staff on April 24, just prior to a formal, limited-access hearing.
Joann Dowd’s husband, who recently passed away from cancer, owned five acres in the northeast corner of the intersection of SR 9 and 84th Street NE. Dowd was joined by family members at the open house, who shared her concerns about the possible future of that property.
“If we want to sell that property, we need to know if it’s even going to be usable,” Dowd said. “We want to know if we’ll still have access to the road with a roundabout, because if not, we’re dead in the water. I’m also curious what else they plan on putting in there.”
Marysville City Council member Donna Wright, who also stopped by the Marysville Getchell High School campus that evening for the open house, also wondered about access to SR 9.
“The west side of SR 9 is largely undeveloped now, so especially if it’s more businesses than homes that come in, where will their access point be?” Wright said. “If you’re going to have large numbers of people entering through 84th Street, it’s something to think about.”
Area resident Nathan Goforth engaged a number of WSDOT spokespersons on the subject of the roundabout during the open house portion of the evening.
“How many cars can a roundabout handle before it backs up?” Goforth asked. “I prefer traffic lights because they can be adjusted to match the traffic flow.”
“You can accommodate a lot more with a circle than a traffic light,” WSDOT Property Acquisition Agent Dale Copley said. “The idea is that you’re not stopping at the circle, like you would at a traffic light, and the circle won’t overload any sooner than a traffic light would.”
Goforth nonetheless expressed skepticism about whether a roundabout will be able to accommodate the traffic that the currently under construction Walmart at that intersection will be adding, but WSDOT Traffic Engineer Mike Swires noted the capacity for additional lanes to be opened on the roundabout as needed.
WSDOT will continue to accept written comments regarding limited access through May 8, after which WSDOT will develop the findings and order document.
“The findings and order is a document containing the findings and conclusions of the limited access hearing,” said Kris Olsen of WSDOT Communications. “It will be based entirely on the evidence in the hearing record presented at the limited access hearing or written comments postmarked no later than May 8.”
The findings and order document will then be sent to those who submitted a Notice of Appearance at the hearing. The establishment of access control becomes final 30 days from the date the department mails the findings and order document to those who have filled out and submitted a Notice of Appearance. It is during this 30-day period that anyone wishing to appeal the decision has an opportunity to do so.
“We will continue to develop our right-of-way plans and prepare the request for proposal, which is the document that contractors use to bid on the project,” Olsen said. “We plan to send out advertise the RFP in mid-October. Construction will begin approximately a year from now.”