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Tribe Highway improvements in Blyn quashed

The following was published in the Sequim Gazette on Oct. 26, 2011 by Amanda Winters.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is tossing out plans for improvements along U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn and starting all over.

Chief Operations Officer Annette Nesse said based on revised analysis and public comment received after the proposal was released in October 2010, the tribe, county and Washington State Department of Transportation decided to put the project as proposed on hold.

The $30 million project proposed several big changes, including creating median openings allowing U-turn movements and bidirectional travel along Highway 101 through indirect left turns, realigning East Sequim Bay Road more directly to Highway 101 and combining access to Chicken Coop Road and Zaccardo Road into one 90-degree intersection.

The plan was not popular among local residents, who didn’t like the indirect left turns and realignment of East Sequim Bay Road in particular.

“The majority of responses were against the project as originally proposed,” Nesse said.

Traffic counts conducted this year showed less traffic than projected in 2007 when the last counts were conducted, calling into question the necessity of the project as a whole.

Instead of moving forward with the project, several smaller projects are under consideration, Nesse said.

“We’re hoping to accomplish the same thing, which is a safer pedestrian and vehicle access situation for both the north campus and the south campus,” she said. “We think that by addressing these county road issues we’ll be able to effect that safety improvement.”

Calming measures, including speed tables, rumble strips, landscape enhancements, speed limit warning signs and pedestrian activated signs and lights, are under serious consideration to address the speed and volume of traffic, especially along Old Blyn Highway, she said.

There also is support from the county to re-work the Chicken Coop Road and Zaccardo Road intersections, which are an “awkward situation,” she said.

That project will be brought before the public once a proposal is finished.

“We basically want to invite anyone who is interested back in to hear a presentation about how we’ve revised the project and give them an opportunity to provide input,” Nesse said.

A date has not yet been set.

For more information, go to www.jamestowntribe.org or call Nesse at 681-4620.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

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