The Plateau's hometown newspaper since 1900. Courier-Herald Home | Contact Us | Subscribe  


Highway group to meet at library

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald Wednesday, September 26, 2007 1:28 PM CDT
Print this story   -   Email this story

A state-proposed “roundabout” for a rural intersection north of Enumclaw has sparked plenty of debate over the past few months, and the idea will get a public airing again tonight, Wednesday, at the Enumclaw Public Library.

The Plateau Transportation Working Group, the brainchild of state Sen. Pam Roach, will take over the library conference room from 7 to 9 p.m. Citizens are encouraged to attend and representatives from the state Department of Transportation will be on hand.

At the heart of the discussion will be the DOT's plan to build a roundabout at the intersection of state Route 169 and Southeast 416th Street.

A roundabout is a traffic design system used at intersections to reduce the number of rear-end and “T-bone” type accidents. Instead of meeting at a traditional four-way intersection, autos follow a circular path through a junction.

The DOT arrived at the roundabout plan after determining the rural highway intersection had been the scene of too many accidents. DOT engineers opted for a roundabout instead of traffic lights and had taken early steps in the project before the public got wind of the proposal.

Once the idea became known, citizens and legislators objected - both to the proposal and the DOT's failure to involve the public in the process - and the issue has been on hold since.
The last time the DOT gave the public the chance to speak on the roundabout, citizens offered a resounding “no.” It seemed the idea was being been scrapped when state Rep. Christopher Hurst received a letter from the DOT's Lorena Eng. Her letter never promised the roundabout idea was dead, however. A subsequent phone message left by a DOT official to Roach indicated the roundabout plan was still being considered.

Realizing another roundabout meeting would be scheduled, Roach went on the offensive and planned tonight's session.

She has adamantly opposed the way the DOT hosts its public sessions, which are often spread over several hours and involve displays spread around a room. Roach maintains that's part of a DOT tactic to keep citizens from banding together.

The senator intentionally scheduled the meeting for the library, where everyone will be in close proximity, able to share their views and get questions answered.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at