Plans to improve safety at Hwy 2 and Colbert Road stall

Neighbors in Colbert are at odds over how to fix a dangerous intersection that has been the site of several serious and deadly crashes over the years.

Highway 2 at Colbert Road is a 60 mph zone. WSDOT officials say the majority of crashes happen when drivers attempt to cross the highway.

Nearly 70 people attended the latest community meeting hosted by WSDOT Monday. Regional Administrator Mike Gribner said getting money from the state legislature will be the biggest hurdle to improve safety. Even though there have been several serious crashes at the intersection over the last few years, crash data shows other intersections around the county have a higher funding priority.

Gribner said the safest option is to build two j-turns to the north and south of Colbert Road along Hwy 2 and block off the center median with left hand only turns. That plan is the most expensive project costing at least $2.3 million. WSDOT officials doubt that much money will be awarded to a “low-priority” project, at least right now.

“We could try to hold out and keep asking for the more expensive option and there’s no way we can tell you when it would rise up in enough priority to get funded, or, maybe we could try for one of these cheaper options,” said Assistant Regional Administrator Larry Larson.

The other option neighbors expressed interest in would cost an estimated $440,000. Two left hand only turns would be built into the median. While it would improve safety, drivers would have to cross the highway at another location.

People at the community meeting voted to hold off and wait until February before making any project decisions. They want Gribner and Larson to approach legislators to see if funding to build j-turns is a possibility.