As one who loves roundabouts, I have rarely heard an idea as ill-advised as constructing one on the west end of the Hood Canal Bridge. A traffic signal, in this case, is the obvious solution (for a genuinely urgent problem).
For starters, a roundabout on the bottom of that severe slope would require moving a great deal of earth, which would be a protracted process and highly disruptive to traffic flow on this vital link.
Secondly, large trucks heading westbound would have to slow to a crawl before starting up the grade, slowing down traffic for a long way behind. True, a red light would do the same but only at very brief and occasional intervals if the lights were timed intelligently. If sensors were installed to detect cars waiting on Paradise Bay and Shine Roads, that problem would be further mitigated.
Thirdly, there is already a problem getting eastbound traffic descending the grade to slow down to 40 mph before crossing the bridge. Placing a roundabout at the bottom of the hill — instead of a signal, which could be seen from a long distance — will ensure accidents will continue to be a problem.
Fourthly, one cannot enter a roundabout while traffic is in it. So cars waiting to enter the busy highway will still have an incessantly long wait.
A traffic signal would be far less expensive than the $3.8 million proposal and safety could be assured with minimal disruption to the only route linking the Olympic Peninsula to Kitsap County. With bridge openings, SR 104 traffic is already tied up often. A roundabout would make it worse. I’ll bet the DOT proponents of this boondoggle have never lived on the Olympic Peninsula!
Share your views: Tina Werner, WSDOT Olympic Communications, 360-704-3270, email@example.com.