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Kent implements roundabout project on Reith Road to enhance traffic safety, road closures until September

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Commuters to plan for detours since the construction of new roundabouts will cause significant portion of Reith Road to be closed until September 1.

Kent, Washington – Beginning July 9, Kent residents and commuters will have to plan for detours since the construction of new roundabouts will cause significant portion of Reith Road to be closed until September 1. As stated by the Public Works Department of the city, the closing will impact the length between Lake Fenwick Road and South 253rd Street.

Aiming at improving traffic flow and safety for all road users, including pedestrians and bicycles, this closure represents a significant phase in the $4.28 million project managed by Puyallup-based Northwest Cascade Inc. The stop signs that currently regulate the existing intersections will be replaced with single-lane compact roundabouts meant to ease traffic congestion and lower car wait times.

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The space between the new roundabouts will undergo significant changes in an innovative approach to urban transportation. Maintaining one car lane in every direction, the outside travel lanes will be converted into separated one-way bike lanes. This change not only fits Kent’s growing bike count but also improves safety by building a buffer between vehicle lanes and walkways.

The city’s plan has not ignored pedestrians. The new design reduces street crossings, streamlines navigation, and incorporates flashing beacons at crossings—which, at a push of a button, notify vehicles of pedestrians crossing the road.

Along one side of Reith Road, the project will also add rideable shoulders to suit cyclists and stretch sidewalks towards Kent-Des-Moines Road (SR 516). These enhancements are a component of a larger initiative to close gaps in the current cycling system of the city and support other forms of mobility.

Funding for this innovative initiative comes in part from a $1.59 million grant given by the state Transportation Improvement Board from the gas tax. Supported by the city business and occupation tax as well as Transportation Impact Fees, which are paid on new buildings and major changes in the usage of already-existing structures, the city street fund will cover the remaining expenditures.

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City authorities urge drivers to follow the posted redirection signs and plan additional time for their travels as construction advances. To help Kent’s transportation system continue to be improved and to help to ease traffic congestion, they also promote the use of other means of mobility, including public transit or bicycle.

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