Waste Connection has plans to move the Lemay Transfer Station next to the National Guard Armory on North Clemons Road near Montesano. The proposal includes a traffic light on Highway 12 at the Clemons Road intersection.
Traffic traveling west climbs a 5 percent grade before reaching the proposed stop light at the intersection. This creates a very hazardous driving situation as commercial vehicles stopped by the light at the bottom of the grade have difficulty reaching highway speeds by the time they reach the top of the hill.
Traffic coming across the Wynooche flats increase their speed often above the speed limit, to pull the hill without shifting down and losing momentum. All of a sudden the traffic light changes, or they come upon a log truck just crawling up the hill after it was stopped from a previous top light, and all hell breaks loose. Large trucks hauling heavy loads don’t stop as fast as passenger cars. Vehicles following these large trucks veer out to the left lane to avoid being delayed by the slower moving traffic. This is the “perfect storm” for a chain reaction collision.
To complicate this situation a “blind spot” is created by the sun as it falls in the wester horizon during the summer and early fall months. Motorists traveling west up the grade before Clemons Road have very limited visibility because of this. The light will stop traffic or cause slow moving vehicles to be right in the middle of this blind spot. Vehicles building speed to climb the grade won’t even see them, until it’s too late.
The state Department of Transportation has approved the stoplight as the best of three bad solutions to the increased traffic congestion caused by the new transfer station. The county needs to require Waste Connections to look at other options that will better solve the traffic problem.
They are required to mitigate solution to minimize the problem. The stoplight is not the right or final solution. How many accidents and deaths need to occur before the DOT will have to do what they should have done in the first place?
If they intend to relocate to this location, then traffic from the west needs to exit at the Devonshire exit and re-enter the highway via the Wynooche on-ramp. There is an overpass at that location which will allow safe ingress and egress.
I would like to bring to the attention of the community that the comment period for the State Environmental Policy Act Review for the relocation of the garbage transfer station and the Highway 12 traffic signal is open until May 4.
If you have a concern about this proposal, please send it to county’s Planning Division, Jane Hewitt (firstname.lastname@example.org) before May 4. Comments must be in writing and can be emailed, hand delivered or mailed.