Thursday, June 20, 2024

Construction to begin April 3 on multi-lane roundabout on Highway 97A in Wenatchee

Navigating detours during US 2/97 and Easy Street roundabout construction

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WENATCHEE - Change can be hard. Whether it’s adjusting to a new job, learning a new city or having to replace your beloved old phone with a new one, figuring out how to navigate your new world can take some time.

Change is coming to the intersection of US 2/97 and Easy Street in Wenatchee, and we know it will take time for some of you to adjust.

On April 3, construction kicks off on a multi-lane roundabout at that intersection and while this project will improve safety and traffic flow, we know for some people, roundabouts can be a pretty intimidating change. The good news is the vast majority of people – even those initially against it – end up seeing the benefits of a roundabout over a signalized intersection. But for many, that does take time and can be a learning curve.

The multi-lane roundabout will replace the existing traffic signal, creating a more consistent flow of traffic and while we can’t promise there will be no collisions, roundabouts have been proven to reduce the severity of collisions. The project will also add improvements like transit pullouts and an extension of the Apple Capital Loop Trail to provide better options regardless of how you get around.

What to Expect

To complete the work, Easy Street will be closed from the US 2/97 and Easy St. intersection to Ohme Garden Road north of the highway and approximately 250 feet south to the Circle K and Subaru dealership accesses. The northbound State Route 285 off-ramp to eastbound US 2/97 will also be closed.

These closures will be in place 24 hours a day through the major construction of the roundabout and is scheduled to reopen in mid-June. During construction, crews will build a temporary roundabout at the Euclid Avenue intersection to the US 2/97 eastbound on-ramp as well as a four-way stop at the intersection of Easy St. and School St. in Sunnyslope to accommodate traffic flow for the detour.

Lots of North-South

Detours

If you regularly travel through the area, the thing to remember is that east-west traffic on US 2/97 will be maintained throughout the construction of the roundabout.  Any north-south traffic will be detoured. While the detour will probably seem frustrating for regular commuters, the closure allows the contractor to finish the project a lost faster than they would without it.

Here’s a breakdown of how the detour will affect your travel, depending on which direction you’re headed:

• Eastbound US 2/97 to north Easy Street: If you’re returning home to Sunnyslope from Cashmere or Leavenworth or you need to get to the Easy St. Park and Ride and you usually turn left onto Easy Street, you’ll take the detour through the intersection and take the off-ramp to Euclid Ave. then take a left and head north to the roundabout at US 97A and Ohme Garden Rd.

• Eastbound US 2/97 to south Easy Street: If you’re traveling from Cashmere or Leavenworth to the Penny Rd. Park & Ride, the car dealerships or the gas stations and would normally take a right turn at the signal, you will need to take the detour east through the intersection to the Euclid Ave. off ramp and turn right to Penny Rd., then right onto Easy St.

• SR 285 to eastbound US 2/97: Leaving Wenatchee to travel east over the Odabashian Bridge to East Wenatchee or Orondo will require you to take the Easy Street off-ramp and take a right on Penny Rd. to Euclid and use the ramp to access eastbound US 2/97 over the Odabashian Bridge.

• SR 285 to north Easy Street: If you are heading north from Wenatchee toward Forest Services offices and the Sunnyslope area, you’ll take the Easy Street off-ramp and take a right on Penny Rd. and follow the detour north to the US 97A/Ohme Garden Rd. roundabout to turn left onto Ohme Garden Rd.

• Southbound US 97A to south Easy Street: When traveling from Entiat or Chelan to the car dealerships or the gas station, instead of using the US 2/97 ramp and taking a left at the signal, you’ll take Euclid Ave. to Penny Rd. and take a right at Easy St.

• Westbound US 2/97 to south Easy Street: Heading west from East Wenatchee over the Odabashian Bridge to the Penny Rd. Park & Ride, the car dealerships or the gas station, instead of taking a left at the intersection signal at Easy St., you’ll take the Euclid Ave. exit, turn right and follow Penny Rd. to Easy St.

• Westbound US 2/97 to north Easy Street: If you’re travelling west from East Wenatchee over the Odabashian Bridge headed to the Sunnyslope area, you’ll take the off ramp to US 97A and use the US 97A/Ohme Garden Rd. roundabout to turn left onto Ohme Garden Rd. to access Easy Street.

• North Easy Street to westbound US 2/97 and SR 285: If you’re heading from Sunnyslope and need to go to N. Wenatchee Ave. or west to Cashmere/Leavenworth, you will need to use Ohme Garden Rd. to the roundabout at US 97A and take a right onto southbound US 97A to the US 2/97 on ramp since the US 2/97 and Easy St. intersection will be closed to north-south traffic.

• North Easy Street to EB US 2/97: When traveling from Sunnyslope east to East Wenatchee/Orondo, you’ll use Ohme Garden Rd. to the US 97A/Ohme Garden Rd. roundabout and take a right to go south to Euclid Ave. then use the eastbound ramp to get on US 2/97 Odabashian Bridge.

Art installation

When the roundabout is close to being finalized, the City of Wenatchee’s contractor will install the city entry art feature. Artist C.J. Rench created the sculpture.

When the roundabout opens to traffic

Again, we know this is going to be a big change for some of you. While roundabouts are designed to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, it may feel a little awkward at first. Here are some tips for driving through multi-lane roundabouts:

• Yield to drivers already in the roundabout

• Do not change lanes in the roundabout

• Never stop in the roundabout

• Give trucks and oversized vehicles both lanes

• Use your turn signal before you exit

It’s important to be aware of pedestrians and bicycles in roundabouts.  At the US 2/97 and Easy St. roundabout, the crosswalk ramps are set further back from vehicle traffic, allowing more time for drivers to react to people crossing before merging into or exiting the roundabout. Triangular islands between lanes of vehicle traffic provide a safe place for pedestrians to wait for traffic to go by. Be sure to be alert and work together so everyone is safe!

Bicyclists can choose to ride through the roundabout with traffic or walk their bicycles through the pedestrian crosswalks.

We’re excited for this improvement to this area and while we know it’ll take time to get used to, we’re confident that people in the area will soon see a safer, smoother trip through this busy intersection.

Maps of the detours can be found at:

https://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2023/03/us-2-97-easy-st-roundabout.html?fbclid=IwAR3sBZhUHBp0-Peh7rH64fkNweStZYwdFZrniDa5hfPjdijW26ID31uuzew

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