ARLINGTON – City officials learned last week that Arlington is set to be awarded a $1.6 million grant toward the cost of a roundabout at 204th Street and 77th Avenue just east of Highway 9.
The proposed $2.5 million project is for a roundabout to improve traffic safety and pedestrian access in a developing area just off Highway 9 at a problem spot that has seen its share of backups and accidents.
Officials looked at putting stop signs in, and a traffic signal, but it became a challenge being so close to a state highway and avoiding traffic backups onto Highway 9.
“We did a traffic study to see if we could somehow get a four-way stop in there just to tide us over, but it just doesn’t work,” said Paul Ellis with the city. “The roundabout ended up being the best solution.”
The traffic study revealed 6,500 weekday daily trips on average on 204th east of the highway, with 450 vehicles at the peak morning commuter hour and 800 though that same corridor at the end of the workday.
The intersection has been a high source of accidents, where at least two fatalities have happened over the years, Ellis said.
Olympic Place (77th north of 204th) is a handy bypass to Olympic Avenue and downtown Arlington for motorists wanting to avoid the highway during heavy traffic times, and for heading to and from eastside neighborhoods.
Area businesses include the Safeway shopping center, while new multi-family housing, Park77 Apartments, has also added to the traffic.
The city anticipates more commercial and residential development in that concentrated area off the highway because there remains open lots, so the improvements are needed as much now as they will be in the future, Ellis said.
The remaining $950,000 for the project will be funded through traffic mitigation fees collected from new development.
Images show a large roundabout with single approaching lanes separated by median planting strips.
Project design and right-of-way acquisition will happen next year, with construction set for 2020.