WENATCHEE — It’s hard to miss the large curb extension at the intersection of Mission and Spokane streets.
The bulb-out is part of a project to improve pedestrian safety, said Jacob Huylar, engineering services manager for the city.
Huylar said the project will convert the left-hand lane on Mission to a turn lane between Chehalis and Spokane streets. After that the left lane will reopen to northbound traffic from Spokane to Miller streets.
“What we’re trying to do is create a better east/west pedestrian corridor,” he said. “As you go north in town, you get into where we’ve got traffic lights at all the intersections, so we’ve got protected crossings there. If you go south, we’ve got our pedestrian hyper beacon by La Fuente and then, in addition to that, we’ve got the signals down at Ferry Street.
We’ve got kind of this big chunk of the city where you can’t safely cross Mission and Chelan, so that kind of acts as a barrier between the residential areas to the west and the commercial, industrial and waterfront areas to the east.”
Huylar said the city has a $496,873.66 construction contract with Davenport-based DW Excavating for the project. Federal grants and city funds are paying for it.
The city hired a consultant in 2016 to look at options, Huylar said, and the Spokane intersection was a natural choice for improvements because of its location and the number of people crossing.
Rapid-flash beacons are also being added near Spokane’s intersections with Mission and Chelan Avenue, but they are more effective for two-lane streets, he said.
“But once you get into a third lane, you end up with a center lane that could be blind to a pedestrian in the crosswalk or those flashing beacons on the outside of the travel lanes if you’ve got a car on each side of them,” he said.
So, the city decided to also add the bulb-out at the Mission-Spokane intersection.
Huylar said Tuesday that he was expecting the work to be mostly complete by the end of this week, but it could extend into next.