In an effort to create a more uniform pathway between Chelan and Manson, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is proposing speed limit changes on SR 150 to better match residential developments, upcoming construction and reconfiguration of lanes on the route.
During an open house hosted in Manson on Nov. 17, 2016, WSDOT presented three alternatives for the proposed speed limit changes:
- No changes – 61 second increase in travel time (includes roundabout)
- Extend 25 MPH to Madeline Road – 78 second increase in travel time (including new roundabout in 2017)
- (WSDOT preferred alternative) Extend 25 MPH to Sunrise Drive and extend 35 MPH to Madeline Road – 74 second increase in travel time (including new roundabout in 2017)
“The overall purpose of this is to improve safety along the route, and in general, it’s going to be about a five mile per hour reduction for the 45 MPH zones,” said Jeff Deal, a transportation engineer with WSDOT. “The other part of it is we just want to have a little bit more consistency from Manson to Chelan. Right now, there is about a seven-mile stretch that changes speeds six times.”
More than 50 residents and business owners came through the open house, giving feedback both verbally and with a survey in order to help guide WSDOT in the process.
Deal said the changes came with the two major projects coming in the spring of 2017, the paving project and the roundabout project, along with residential changes and developments in the area.
“For the amount of safety improvement that we’re looking at on this route, an extra minute is a 10-percent increase in your travel time, but we’re looking at about a 15-percent improvement in crash rates,” Deal said.
According to WSDOT, the current crash rate in the 45 MPH zone between Madeline Road and Rocky Point is 12-percent higher than the rest of Chelan County.
As far as local feedback, Deal said the alternatives have seen mixed reviews.
“We’ve had a lot of input from residents that support a decrease in speed, but we’ve also had some business owners say they travel the road several times a day, and an extra three to four minutes would be a lot,” Deal said. “We’re trying to find a compromise, so we’re working with both sides to do that.”
Following the Nov. 17 open house, WSDOT will take the feedback and decide on an alternative, which will then go to a traffic engineer for approval before the process begins to implement the speed limit changes. The goal for the project is to integrate most of the speed limit changes by spring 2017, Deal said.
“We’re trying to be in the middle ground and make it as safe as we can, while allowing people to get from point A to point B in a timely manner,” Deal said. “I’m impressed with the turnout we have tonight and both times that we’ve come up to Manson the input and attendance has been pretty strong.”
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)