Detour signs will soon greet anyone attempting to drive through the busy intersection of Semanski Street and Warner Avenue.
As the city prepares to oversee construction of a roundabout, motorists will be diverted away from the area. And it’s not a short-term situation: it’s anticipated the detours will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for two full months.
The intersection will be shut down from Monday, March 15, to May 14, according to information posted by the city. Local access will be allowed to accommodate residents living in the area.
The roundabout is the city’s answer to growing congestion at the intersection that is home to Enumclaw High School on one corner and apartment buildings on the other three. Added to the mix is the ongoing building of new neighborhoods of single-family homes just a couple of blocks away on Semanski.
Presently, drivers on Warner Avenue encounter stop signs while Semanski is the arterial that allows for the free flow of traffic. Things often bog down, particularly during the morning and afternoon hours when EHS students are arriving in automobiles, being dropped off or walking to campus.
Congestion has been alleviated this year due to the ongoing pandemic and its effect on school attendance. Enumclaw High students began the year learning entirely from home and have now transitioned to a hybrid learning model; still, most are in school just two days a week.
Talk of improvements to the Semanski/Warner intersection had picked up steam in 2018 in conjunction with the expansion and renovation of Enumclaw High. In a memo to the Enumclaw City Council, Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln noted that, at that time, “traffic studies analyzed the intersection and determined that a roundabout would be the appropriate improvement.”
An engineering consultant was brought on board by the city in 2019 to produce design plans, a process that was completed in August 2020. The city sought bids in December and received 15 responses. The contract was awarded to R.W. Scott Construction, which submitted a winning bid of $338,597.
The roundabout will be constructed entirely within the confines of the present intersection, so there was no need for property acquisition.