Washington State Hosts Roundabout Rodeo
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Washington State Hosts Roundabout Rodeo

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      Although Washington State has been constructing roundabouts in different localities across the state since the mid-1990s, there are still many communities without these types of intersections and citizens who are not familiar with what roundabouts are and how they are navigated. The City of Bellingham, in Whatcom County, WA, is an example of this type of community, and provided the setting for a memorable experience for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The initial proposal for Bellingham's first roundabout was at a four-legged intersection where 18 collisions had occurred in a single year, and officials wanted to build a roundabout to improve conditions at that intersection and along the corridor. Similarly, in another part of Whatcom County, the community was struggling with the idea of roundabouts being constructed on a major highway near a border crossing. Residents voiced concerns about how viable the roundabouts would be for use by not only local farm equipment, but also the large freight trucks that moved on the corridor back and forth across the U.S.-Canadian border. Although meetings and face-to-face question and answer sessions were held, uncertainty persisted, and WSDOT faced stiff resistance from individuals who could not envision the concept or who still did not believe that the larger vehicles would be able to navigate the roundabouts safely. So, WSDOT decided to show them.
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