The city of Edmonds has decided that it’s about time for a roundabout at Five Corners, one of the area’s trickiest intersections.
The city is soliciting offers from individuals or firms interested in providing engineering services to complete the preliminary engineering, design and right-of-way acquisition phases of the project. The deadline is March 29.
“The roundabout will improve the traffic flow, make it safer and reduce emissions,” said city Transportation Engineer Bertrand Hauss, who added that accommodating pedestrian and bicycle activity through the intersection is also a key component of the project. “With the five approaches, there’s a lot of confusion and it can be hard to see which is the next car to go.”
Hauss pointed to a 2008 transportation plan, based on traffic delay time and other factors, that gave Five Corners an “F” rating (“A” is best). A major factor was the significant backup during the afternoon and early evening peak times, he said. The city hired a consultant and, based on computer modeling of Five Corners with a roundabout, it was determined that the roundabout would bump the intersection to a “B” rating.
Instead of being stopped, traffic will be continuously moving, said Hauss, who added that that stop signs will be replaced by yield signs.
Edmonds secured a federal transportation grant in 2010 to fund the design and right-of-way phases, the latter of which will likely include widening the intersection. The city will be pursuing additional transportation grants next year to fund the construction phase of the project, which is expected to be about $2 million.
The Five Corners roundabout would be significantly different than two others in Edmonds. The city’s iconic fountain roundabout, at Main Street and Fifth Avenue, is a four-way stop and was built largely for aesthetic reasons. Another one, at Dayton Street and Eighth Avenue South, is a traffic-calming roundabout designed to slow traffic heading west down the hill on Dayton from Ninth Avenue South.
Hauss, a native of France, is a veteran of traffic roundabouts. “There are stretches in France where it’s all roundabouts and there are no traffic lights anymore. It’s working out pretty well, and is real common in Europe.”
The earliest the Five Corners roundabout would be completed is in late spring of 2013, said Hauss. There might be additional construction going on during that time as well, as Edmonds is now working on a .
For more information on the Five Corners roundabout, go to the City of Edmonds’ website.