With a switch in funds, Clallam County Public Works was able to keep about $315,000 in state dollars in the Sequim area for traffic safety projects along Sequim-Dungeness Way.
The Clallam County commissioners opted out of constructing a traffic circle at the Kitchen-Dick Road and Old Olympic Highway intersection in early 2008. The project was funded by the state through a Rural Road Two Lane Program grant.
Rules specific to the grant indicate the county could use the money only for the roundabout, but after hearing the traffic circle was not an option, county staff worked with the state to reallocate the funds.
"Usually 'no' means 'no' with the state," said Ross Tyler, with public works. "But with this rural road grant program we were able to keep the dollars from slipping away and apply them toward a valid safety project."
Clallam County won two grants from the state's rural road program in late 2007, one for guardrails on Sequim-Dungeness Way and another for the traffic circle. Tyler said the state allowed the transfer of funds to create a greater scope in the guardrail plan.
"The state was very helpful," he said. "While we don't have the exact layout of guardrails done yet, we have completed an initial survey of the road."
On the east and west sides of Sequim-Dungeness Way the land slopes at a steep enough gradient to flip a vehicle. Tyler said the potential damage to a vehicle and its passengers was great enough to warrant safety measures.
"We will likely be putting in both guardrails and flattening out slopes," he said. "We need to take a second look to see which practice is best for which areas."
The safety project will take place between the northern city limit of Sequim and Woodcock Road. Some of the slopes may be difficult to flatten out and some may require the acquisition of additional right of way, but many times an even slope is safer than a guardrail.
"We try to use guardrails only when the traffic hazard they protect from is greater than the guardrail itself," Tyler said. "So we will look at what is cost effective, feasible and safe for that road and make decisions from there."
The Clallam County commissioners initiated the Sequim-Dungeness Way safety project at their May 27 regular meeting. For more information on the commissioners' meetings, agendas or minutes, visit www.clallam.net or call 417-2233.
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