There are more than 400 roundabouts in Washington state and approximately 170 in Washington State Department of Transportation facilities. Now it’s looking like the statistics will increase by one more with the I-90-Canyon Road Interchange-Eastbound Ramp Terminal Improvements Project.

WSDOT assistant regional administrator Brian White outlined the project for the eastbound off-ramp at I-90 and Canyon Road at Monday night’s Ellensburg City Council meeting. The proposal, according to White’s presentation, would decrease delay for left-turn movements and increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

“The WSDOT is proposing to build a roundabout at on-ramp eastbound. They looked at several different alternatives and ultimately determined the roundabout was the solution in terms of long-term traffic route,” Ellensburg city manager John Akers said.

In May of 2004 the city received $1.4 million federal earmark to complete a design study and environmental permitting for a new I-90 interchange. The following year, June of 2005, the city asked WSDOT to perform the study, which it completed in March 2009, stating an interchange was not warranted, according to the power point.

With city support, WSDOT recommended repurposing the earmark for other improvements identified in the study. But by August of 2017, it was determined the remaining earmark of $1 million would be repurposed for two WSDOT projects in the Ellensburg area:

n I-90/Canyon Road Interchange — East bound Ramp Terminal Improvements and

n I-90 — Highway 97 and state Route 970 Ellensburg Vic-CED Planning & Mitigation

“When WSDOT did the roundabout at the West interchange (at I-90 and University) there was a lot of anti (roundabout) conversation,” Akers said. “And they went and did it anyway. Frankly, from what I hear it works great.

“I think most people have come to like it now that they’ve seen what it is all about. I think it’s an initial perception issue, and I don’t think people are as antagonistic about them as they were before they built the first one.”

Available funding for Canyon Road Interchange is $720,000, which includes construction, engineering and contract administration.

WSDOT will hold an open house allowing public input later in the fall of 2019. They will put the contract advertisement out in February and construction will follow in the summer of 2020.


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