City officials hosted a meeting last night to discuss traffic solutions at the base of the West US Highway 12 off-ramp into Montesano.

Councilman Ian Cope said, “It’s great to see this many people turned up and are interested in the future of that intersection and have an opinion to share on it. Our traffic engineers are here. [I] hope that the DOT is able to lend something to it. This is what the people have been asking for is an opportunity to get information from the authorities and share their opinions.”

A small and a large roundabout, a traffic light, and lane work were among the alternatives presented. Cope said he preffered improvements to the existing intersection including lane re-alignment – or even a traffic signal. “I don’t think a roundabout is neccessary there. We’ve got this money from the DOT, it can be used in multiple ways, and we’re seeing all of those possibilities displayed here today.”

The city was awarded $1.5-million to come up with a better intersection.  Cope said most importantly, they’re just getting started; “This is just the design phase at this point. There is no one project that this money is going to go towards. It is at this point a number of choices before the DOT, first and foremost, and then before the city council.”

Roundabouts

The roundabouts seemed to be generating the most angst among the more than 70 that turned out to the meeting last night.

The most often comment on roundabouts is that semi trucks won’t fit through them, but that’s not necessarily true. A better statement would be that semi trucks don’t fit down every street in Washington state, and their drivers know that. Roundabouts can be designed to accomodate any truck legal on Washington State roads, given enough space.

Comment cards were offered at the meeting last night, and some took to Facebook when they ran out of room on the cards. Cope said residents are welcome to continue to be a part of the process by staying involved in council meetings and city events.

Ron Landon with the Washington State Department of Transportation said no matter what the city decides, the state will own it once it’s built. “At the end of this process, should anything be built, we will own it because this section of roadway between the two ramps that’s DOT property because it’s [State Route] 107.”