CHELAN – Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) hosting the grand opening of the roundabout located at State Route (SR) 150 and No-See-Um Road in Chelan, Wednesday, Nov. 29.
The initial request for intersection improvements at No-See-Um Road began in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2006 when the idea for a roundabout came into play after completion of a consultant study and partnership between the WSDOT and City of Chelan.
The $5.2 million intersection improvement began in April, and at times caused delays of 90 minutes or more due to unexpected underground issues in regard to water and sewer line improvements.
The multi-moto facility is designed to accommodate larger fruit trucks heading toward or away from Manson, but also offers a bike pad and pedestrian path.
Former Senator Linda Evans Parlette gave a brief speech and the opening ceremony. “My message to you today is one person can make a difference,” she began, “I was contacted in 1999 by a gentleman in his 80’s … (he) was relentless about doing something about the No-See-Um intersection,” she added laughingly. “I know this neighborhood very well, as you know I grew up right down the hill here. My grandfather built the house that is now Vin Du Lac, that’s where my dad was raised,” she fondly mentioned, “this whole intersection is part of my history …this area will continue to grow …I truly believe this is a project to be proud of. The way it’s moving traffic, the way it looks aesthetically, and will only improve as time goes on.”
City of Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney took the podium as well, “it’s got to be the best-looking roundabout I’ve ever seen,” he joked. “One thing I did want to point out, it’s the small things that make a difference. While people waited in line, and their angst was growing … the flaggers made the difference as far as the humor, keeping things light, helped a lot as far as deflating the anger,” he added, then concluded, “all of that is going to be forgotten in about a year or so, when there are a lot more homes on both sides and people are wanting to get through this intersection quicker.”
Chelan Councilwoman Erin McCardle also provided a brief aesthetic overview before the cutting of the ribbon. “Last summer,” she began, “we all started working on what this roundabout is going to look like. This is the entry point into our valley, so many cars come through this and we really wanted it to be a showcase for this world-class environment that we live in.” She commented on some of the special features, including the basalt pillars in the center of the roundabout. The pillars are water features, they’re all drilled for water. Once spring hits, the water will flow from the pillars and be lit from the bases. One particularly admirable feature though is that the pillars will each be engraved in the spring with Chelan, Manson, and Stehekin on them, “so they represent the entire valley of Chelan,” said McCardle.
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