Q: The intersection of Southeast 38th Street and 150th Avenue Southeast in Bellevue is a ticket trap. An officer regularly stands in the...

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Q:

The intersection of Southeast 38th Street and 150th Avenue Southeast in Bellevue is a ticket trap. An officer regularly stands in the corner gas station waiting to ticket the unwitting drivers who get stuck in the intersection trying to turn left onto northbound 150th Avenue Southeast. It’s difficult to see into the intersection because people are constantly cutting each other off trying to reach Interstate 90. Why not use that officer to direct traffic at the intersection during evening rush hour instead of handing out tickets?



A:

If you can stomach a few more months of frustration, Bellevue’s Transportation Department and King County are cooking up some improvements they say will help ease congestion through this bottleneck.

Starting in mid-May, crews will begin widening 150th Avenue Southeast from five lanes to seven lanes between the I-90 offramp to Southeast 38th Street, said project manager Paul Krawczyk. The extra lanes will be right-turn pockets to help keep the other lanes clear for through traffic.

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The project also includes a new left-turn lane with its own arrow signal along northbound 150th Avenue Southeast at Southeast 38th Street. Now, for safety’s sake, motorists are barred from turning left between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays.

“We have people backed up behind left turners because right now it’s a through lane,” Krawczyk said. “It is by far and away the most important part of the project here; it answers a whole bunch of concerns.”

A little farther west on Southeast 38th Street, the plan calls for a center barrier to prevent left turns at Allen Road, another source of trouble. The city and county will add a U-turn farther up the road to enable motorists to double back. Construction on the $5.7 million project should wrap in the spring of 2006.

Posting officers at 150th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 38th Street to direct traffic would do little to help, because the intersection already is packed, said Bellevue police Officer Michael Chiu. He suggested that motorists take an extra second and make sure there is sufficient space before entering the intersection, to avoid receiving a ticket. At most, Chiu said, an officer is present to ticket lawbreakers about twice a month.


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Got an Eastside traffic question? Send it to us by e-mail, east@seattletimes.com; by fax, 425-453-0449; by mail, The Seattle Times Eastside News Bureau, 1200 112th Ave. N.E., Suite C-145, Bellevue, WA 98004.


Q:

I was riding my bike from Woodinville to Redmond along the Sammamish River Trail and noticed that black erosion-control fencing remains along the river after construction at the Northeast 124th Street Sammamish River overpass. How long will it stay there? Some sites seem to leave it there forever, but I thought it was a temporary measure.



A:

The folks with King County’s Transportation Department say that barrier, known as a silt fence, likely will stay put through summer.

Silt fences typically are left in place until an area that has been disturbed by construction is completely stabilized, said Linda Thielke, a county spokeswoman. In this case, that means until grass seed and newly planted trees along the hillside can take solid root.


Early Warning


Bellevue:

The right two lanes of southbound Interstate 405 at the Wilburton Tunnel will be closed from 10 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday while crews install new lighting.


Bellevue:

All but one westbound lane of Northeast Sixth Street between 110th and 112th avenues northeast will be closed from 7 a.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com