SEAVIEW, Wash. - The Washington Department of Transportation is looking at improving traffic safety at the accident-prone intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 103 in Seaview, one of the most heavily traveled intersections on the Long Beach Peninsula.

One suggested solution was a roundabout - perhaps like the one in Astoria. But, after objections from the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, a roundabout may not be in the running.

"What we're looking at are alternatives or potential solutions to a safety problem at that intersection," said WDOT Area Engineer Amy Revis, at the Kelso, Wash., WDOT office. "A roundabout is one of the alternatives that we have looked at."

Revis said WDOT started studying the intersection last spring after an annual review showed a higher than normal number of accidents at the intersection, based on a statewide average. In a five-year period from 1996 through 2000, there were 12 reported accidents there.

According to Revis, the biggest benefit of a roundabout is that there is no stop light and no conflicting movements - just yield signs to all vehicles entering the intersection.

"With a yield situation, there is no one trying to turn across someone else, which is where a lot of the accidents at this intersection took place," she said. "A lot of the accidents were left turns or rear-ends."

A roundabout would force the relocation of the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau building, which sits on property that belongs to WDOT. The visitors bureau building could stay where it is if a traditional stop light was set up at the intersection.

Visitors bureau Executive Director Una Boyle sought help from state Sen. Sid Snyder, D-Long Beach, and contacted WDOT Regional Administrator Don Wagner to try to sway the decision away from a roundabout. They met Nov. 1.

Last week, WDOT Communications Manager Theresa Weil said Wagner noted afterward that a roundabout is "not very likely as an alternative at the intersection."

Boyle was also concerned that work on the intersection might occur between 2003 and 2006 during the Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial.

"After the meeting we told Ms. Boyle we would wait until after the peak Lewis and Clark Bicentennial years," said Weil. "We assured her that we would wait until around 2007 if by chance there is a roundabout."

Weil said if WDOT funds become available for a stop light solution at the intersection, work could be begin before the Bicentennial. In terms of cost, a roundabout is comparable to a traditional stop light intersection, she said.

Chris Nielsen is a Chinook Observer staff writer

Tags