Burlington Northern Overpass Project: FAQs
Q: Are you still planning to restrict left turns at the Green/Cook Road intersection?
A: Yes. As you know, Green Road is really close to the railroad crossing, Old 99 and the I-5 intersection. Delays already exist in that area, and we know the Old 99 closure won’t help. Preventing left turns from eastbound Cook Road to northbound Green Road will help limit backups at the intersection. We also know backups affect the sight distance for drivers making left turns from southbound Green Road to eastbound Cook Road, so for the sake of safety, we’re restricting those, too. We’re also putting up signs to tell drivers LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY/NO TRUCKS on Green Road.
Q: OK, so no left turns. But what about farm equipment that can’t take I-5 or go several miles out of the way?
A: We know this is an active farming area, and we want to make sure farm equipment and farm trucks can still get to their properties. We will issue Over Legal Permits to anyone in the area who needs to use Green Road to get tractors, milk trucks, farm trucks and trailers, etc. to their farm properties. This Over Legal Permit ALSO allows you to make left turns on to or off of Green Road as needed.
Q: Why aren’t you improving Green Road before you close Old 99?
A: The project funding we received is limited to bridge construction and can’t be used for offsite improvements. That being said: Green Road is on our Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. We know it needs upgrades and repairs, but we don’t have the funding in our budget to do it this year. However…because we know Green Road may be a critical route for emergency responders, we do plan to make a few improvements (filling potholes, leveling areas, strengthening/improving the shoulder) to keep the road passable. If you notice a problem on Green Road, please let us know.
Q: The Old 99/Bow Hill Road/Prairie Road intersection is already congested, and there have been several accidents. Since this is your detour route, what are you doing to prevent crashes and make sure traffic won’t get backed up?
A: There are several ways we can help keep traffic flowing: We’ve already installed flashing beacons alerting drivers on Old 99 to expect turning traffic ahead, and have put rumble striping along the centerline. During construction, if we notice congestion or issues, we can bring out a radar speed monitor trailer to remind drivers of the posted speed limit, and increase emphasis patrols in the area. As a last resort, we can also temporarily lower the speed limit and/or install a temporary left-turn lane on northbound Old 99 if we determine that it’ll help traffic flow.
We looked at crash data for this intersection and found that seven crashes occurred in the intersection during the past five years: 3 in 2014, 2 in 2015 and 2 in 2016. The contributing circumstance in 5 of the crashes was inattention, while 1 was improper signaling and 1 was following too closely.
Q: Since I-5 is your main detour route, what can you do to prevent traffic backups? What happens if there’s a crash on I-5?
A: We’re in contact with WSDOT’s Incident Response Team for our area. This team responds to crashes or disabled vehicles with the goal of quickly clearing the blocking issue (if possible) to prevent congestion and delay. During construction, we’ll have assistance from the Incident Response Team to manage crashes or blocking issues on I-5.