Construction for new roundabout to begin

Posted 9/13/23

Anna Tallarico

Prepare for two months of detours as Port Townsend’s newest roundabout graces the East Sims Way and Kearney Street intersection. The Port Townsend …

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Construction for new roundabout to begin


Prepare for two months of detours as Port Townsend’s newest roundabout graces the East Sims Way and Kearney Street intersection.
The Port Townsend City Council unanimously approved a resolution Jan. 3, authorizing the city to work with the Washington State Department of Transportation on the project, with the city receiving a $74,500 grant from the state.
According to the city, grant funding will also pay for the installation of flashing lights for pedestrian safety across State Route 20 at the new roundabout.
When the authorization was made in January, construction was expected to begin in April or May. It was delayed, according to Public Works Director Steve King, because of “design approval process within the WSDOT.”
“I can say that there were a number of iterations to improve the design and enhance the project,” he added.
The project is expected to cost $551,400 in total.
“This is between the grant and the local match,” King explained.
$476,900 was provided by federal and WSDOT monies while the city contributed $74,500.
According to Washington State Department of Transportation’s website, the total funding for this project is $2 million.
“The majority of the cost and scope of the project is the replacement of the signal with a compact roundabout,” King said. “The city was fortunate enough to secure some additional grant funds ($476,900) to add to the project. This allows the city to fix Kearney Street, which is outside of the WSDOT jurisdiction of State Route 20.”
Though the city and WSDOT are in partnership, King stated that WSDOT is really the lead on this project. The city’s portion of the project is going to improve ADA access, pedestrian safety, and repair the roadway in front of the Food Co-op.
The city answered the rest of The Leader’s questions about the project in a rather roundabout way, detouring to WSDOT’s press release page for further information.
The press release states the construction will occur in two phases; during both phases, traffic heading toward Port Townsend will detour around the project onto Benedict Street and Washington Street, and turn right to return to State Route 20/East Sims Way.
In phase one, traffic heading away from Port Townsend will turn right onto Kearney Street and left onto Jefferson Street, then continue onto State Route 20.
In phase two, traffic will simply keep left on SR 20 to use the southern side of the intersection, with Kearney Street as the northern side of the roundabout as its constructed.
Ben Ford, Interim Project Engineer, was not available for comment about how long each phase will take, but according to the aforementioned press release, the project should be finished by November.
The project hotline is 360-565-0620. The press release can be found at