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Kendall roundabout slated for summer 2015

With the location of a roundabout at Mount Baker Highway and Kendall Road decided, residents will help answer another important question about next summer’s construction project.

Should the roundabout be built quickly but with major disruption to traffic at the intersection, or should it take longer with traffic allowed to flow more freely?

“Or as we like to say, ‘Do we pull the Band-Aid slowly or quickly?’” said Chris Damitio, project engineer for the Department of Transportation.

Kendall residents will be able to weigh in on this question and other project details at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17. The meeting will be held at Kendall Elementary School, 7547 Kendall Road.

No presentation is planned. Residents can show up anytime during those two hours to learn about the project and provide comments.

The construction will affect the entire Kendall community. The school, a convenience store, a library and a fire station all are near the intersection. DOT is “leaning” toward getting the bulk of the work done quickly rather than slowly, in about one month, Damitio said.

“But we want to hear from the community,” he said.

Roundabout construction will keep the historic Kendall Church intact. A year ago, some of DOT’s proposed layouts would have required demolition of the church. Pastor Vern Yadon was even shopping for land where he could relocate. A church has been at that site since 1901.

The accepted roundabout design will eliminate the triangle, which provides multiple opportunities for crashes, DOT officials have said. The intersection had 23 reported collisions from 2003 to 2012, including 13 with injuries, according to state data. A $2.4 million federal grant will cover most of the project cost.

The roundabout is smaller than the options presented last year. State officials are confident the roundabout will work, even for trucks, because it’s the same size as the one at Nugents Corner. The final design will be on display at Monday’s meeting.

The work is scheduled to begin in July 2015.

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