Spokane Valley city officials recently approved a design of a signalized intersection at Sullivan Road and Wellesley Avenue to improve safety and handle an anticipated increase in traffic.
The intersection near East Valley High School has been a safety issue with more than 13,000 cars traveling through it daily and 17 reported accidents in eight years.
The city conducted a study in 2014 that determined the intersection warrants a signalized five-lane or dual-lane roundabout.
Spokane County is planning a six-phase, $9.4 million project at Bigelow Gulch and Forker roads to alleviate traffic from north Spokane to Spokane Valley by widening and straightening a portion of the road as well as adding two traffic lanes and an overpass to fix a blind intersection.
The sixth phase of the project will connect Bigelow Gulch Road to the intersection at Sullivan Road and Wellesley Avenue.
Spokane County’s project calls for a new cul-de-sac at Progress Road, which will shift the majority of traffic to Sullivan Road. By 2040, traffic is estimated to increase to 23,000 vehicles per day.
When considering a roundabout or signal, the city looked at pedestrian safety, dependability, future transportation needs, public acceptance, ease of obtaining right-of-way and traffic control during construction.
The city conducted a public meeting attended by 75 people with mixed opinions and concerns about roundabouts near the high school as well as pedestrian safety.
A traffic signal was selected by the council because cost is lower and there would be less impact on traffic flow during construction. The city determined a signal could be constructed faster, while construction of a roundabout would require shutdown of both Sullivan Road and Wellesley Avenue.
The city has secured $1.3 million in funding for an interim signal, including $99,625 from Spokane County to purchase right-of-way for intersection improvements.
City officials have been coordinating with the county over the past year to have projects constructed concurrently in 2020 to minimize interruptions to the public.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.