WSDOT awards Mercer Island safety program grant

City will use $185,000 grant to improve traffic signal safety.

Four Mercer Island cross streets have been marked as locations for the city’s future traffic signal safety improvement project.

The Washington State Department of Transporation (WSDOT) is providing a financial hand by awarding the city’s Public Works department a $185,000 safety program grant award for the project, which has an anticipated design phase start in 2023 and construction commencement in 2024, according to the city.

The sites are Southeast 27th Street at 77th and 78th avenues southeast and Southeast 40th Street at Island Crest Way and 86th Avenue Southeast and were chosen based on crash history data and as spots that required improvements in the city’s ADA transition plan, according to Jessi Bon in her city manager’s report at the Sept. 20 city council meeting.

“This is an opportunity that our traffic engineer sleuthed out and realized it was a match for a number of projects that we have on deck,” Bon said of the grant.

The project will feature signal upgrades; installation of flashing yellow arrows and ADA-compliant push buttons; leading pedestrian intervals, which provide additional time for street crossing ahead of a signal change; and reflectorized backplates, which will improve visibility during dusk and hours of darkness.


* Also at the Sept. 20 meeting, council approved the consent agenda, which included authorizing Bon to sign and submit the Opioid Distributors Washington Settlement Participation Form and Allocation Agreement.

According to a city document, the city of Mercer Island will join other Washington cities and counties in the $518 million settlement agreement reached by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office with McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. (“Opioid Distributors”) for claims related to the opioid epidemic.

The city is estimated to receive about $320,000 in settlement funds paid over 17 years. Funds may only be used for a number of approved purposes, including programs to treat and prevent opioid use disorder and impacts and to support those in recovery; training first responders and law enforcement officers on responding to opioid emergencies and more.

* Council also appropriated $260,400 from the water fund balance to complete design work on the 2023 Water System Improvements Project, which is proposed to replace approximately 8,000 linear feet of water main due to aging infrastructure. Council’s allocation increases the scope of the project from 2,700 linear feet to the current number.

“Providing safe and reliable drinking water for the community is a top priority for the City of Mercer Island and for the Public Works Department,” reads a document, which adds that a city water system plan aims to preserve public health and safety, and maintain adequate water volume for firefighting, water volume for basic sanitation and consumptive value and water quality.