A short stretch of state Route 410 is getting even busier this week, with improvements coming to three traffic signals in Buckley.
The work will commence as crews continue a painting project on the White River bridge, an effort that now has the nearly 70-year-old span resembling a huge, steel cocoon.
The bridge is wrapped to prevent paint chips from falling into the White River, a salmon-bearing waterway. Work crews will mitigate rust, corrosion and peeling paint before applying 640 gallons of paint.
The timing of the two projects means more than $5 million will be spent on a two-mile stretch of the busy highway. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the bridge-painting project carries a price tag of $2.8 million, while the signal light replacement will total $2.3 million.
The focus on 410 also includes an ongoing study by the DOT that will examine ways to alleviate congestion between Enumclaw and Buckley. A public survey wrapped up July 22 that asked varied questions about driving habits and preferences for the stretch of highway from Enumclaw, through Buckley and on to the eastern edge of Bonney Lake.
The signal light project has been in the planning stages for some time and, according to a DOT press release, work was set to begin Monday of this week. Contractors will replace aging and outdated signal systems at Park Avenue, Main Street and Mundy Loss Road.
The modern signals are expected to help improve traffic flow at the busy intersections. Presently, the lights are on a constant rotation, alternating through the traditional red-yellow-green pattern no matter the traffic conditions. That causes backups, particularly at Park Avenue and especially during the late afternoon and early evening commuting hours.
The new lights will be able to detect cross traffic or — more important — if there is no cross traffic. The new system will allow a light to remain green for 410 traffic unless another driver wants to cross 410.
Traffic counts showed a daily average of 18,000 automobiles passing through the intersection of SR 410 and Mundy Loss Road; the average jumps to 20,000 autos daily at the Main Street and Park Avenue intersections.
In addition to new signals, contractor crews will rebuild sidewalk ramps at the intersections of Main Street and Park Avenue, to make them more accessible for all.
During the work, motorists will experience daytime shoulder closures and occasional overnight shoulder and lane closures Monday through Thursday; no work is planned for Fridays or weekends. Just a bit north, drivers contend with some nighttime delays due to the bridge painting project.
The DOT anticipates the trio of traffic lights will be replaced by the fall. Completion of the bridge project also should be wrapped up before winter.
Information about both projects is available by visiting the Olympic Region Weekly Construction and Traffic Updates webpage, www.wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/Olympic/Construction.