Project will smooth traffic flow at Federal Way intersection
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
October 31, 2012 · 12:47 PM
An upcoming road construction project is expected to reduce congestion at 21st Avenue SW and SW 336th Street in Federal Way.
The project will install a light at the troubled intersection, and allow for two left turns from both directions. The project will also add a right turn for westbound and northbound commuters.
Brian Roberts, street systems project engineer for the city, explained the need for the project and how the city hopes to make a busy and hazard-filled intersection safer for all.
"The intersection at 21st and 336th experiences severe congestion during the morning and evening commute peaks," Roberts said at an open house Oct. 30 at City Hall.
"This project will essentially alleviate that. Currently those movements tend to choke up the intersection. There are more left turning vehicles today than can fit in the existing turn pockets."
Even a single non-turning vehicle that's waiting to go through the light will end up causing a backup of right-turning vehicles going westbound or northbound, he said.
"Being able to separate those movements and peel them out will increase the efficiency of the signal tremendously and improve the operation and safety of the intersection," he added.
The project is slated to start in May. Roberts said he expects it to last "one full construction season," which would range between six and eight months.
Various community members and city staff braved the weather to participate the open house on Oct. 30.
Roberts said the open houses are always a good opportunity for city staff to interact with the community. The face-to-face interaction often alerts city staff to problems well before construction of a project begins, he said.
"Often times, people will come and say, 'Hey my driveway is here, and if you do this, it's going to cause this kind of an impact for me.' Sometimes it's really difficult to see that on paper," Roberts said. "But when you have a face-to-face with people, we're able to see and do something about issues before construction, when they become apparent then, and usually are a lot more expensive to fix."
One such person who benefited from the open house was Cindy Stanaway, one of the owners of a Dairy Queen restaurant that will be affected by the construction.
"I was asked by the owners of the property to come here to find out about it, so I'm just finding out about it," she said. "I think it will be a really good idea. This is just such a bad (intersection). There are accidents there all the time. So putting a light in there will probably be good."
Stanaway expressed some concerns about the project possibly affecting parking for her business, saying her business could potentially lose about three spots in an already crowded parking lot. Regardless, she still sees the wisdom of the project.
"I get it," she said, simply.
(Pictured: An open house Oct. 30 at City Hall provided information on the upcoming construction project at 21st Avenue SW and SW 336th Street)
To learn more specifics about the project, visit www.cityoffederalway.com/index.aspx?NID=245.
Those interested can also contact Brian Roberts at (253) 835-2723 or Deputy Public Works Director Marwan Salloum at (253) 835-2720.
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at email@example.com or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.