WENATCHEE — When paving and concrete work is finished late this week, the new roundabout at Highway 97A and Ohme Garden Road will be virtually finished, Bob Romine, project engineer for the state Department of Transportation said this morning.
The roundabout is part of a $2.9 million collection of roadway improvement and paving projects that includes 1.5 miles on Highway 2/97 between Sunnyslope to Easy Street, 2 miles on Highway 97A from the Odabashian Bridge north, new expansion joints on the Wenatchee River Bridge and a block of new sidewalks on Easy Street.
Stemilt Growers contributed $150,000 to the roundabout, which will make it easier for its employees and fruit trucks to access its nearby plant.
The roundabout is actually oval-shaped. It measures about 100 feet long north to south, but only about 85 feet from east to west.
Roundabouts cause anxiety among many North Central Washington motorists, but Romine said the structure is less expensive to build and maintain than an intersection with traffic lights.
It also reduces the severity of accidents, since traffic from all directions needs to slow down to negotiate the loop, he said.
“People are generally resistant to roundabouts, but they do have a place in society and in traffic,” he said.
Signs and provisional on-road markers should be placed by the end of the week, he said. Crews have to wait at least three weeks for the asphalt to cure before installing permanent on-road directional markers, he said.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173