Q: Why doesn't the state add a left-turn signal or a left-turn lane at 164th Avenue Southeast where it crosses the Renton-Issaquah Road...

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Q: Why doesn’t the state add a left-turn signal or a left-turn lane at 164th Avenue Southeast where it crosses the Renton-Issaquah Road (Highway 900) in Coalfield? Drivers headed west on Highway 900 get stuck behind those waiting to turn south on 164th, sometimes for a mile and a half. Seems like a turn lane or a green arrow would help people turn, let more westbound traffic go through and eliminate this bottleneck.

A: It appears you’re onto something. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) also has defined that very location as a place that needs “left-turn stabilization.” Unfortunately, state officials say they haven’t got the money to fix it quite yet, though they’ve made improvements.

Earlier this year, the state looked into widening Highway 900 to make space for a turn lane, according to DOT traffic-operations engineer Don Sims. Widening this stretch of road, however, would mean buying up some businesses and other private property, which boosts the cost. The DOT estimates the whole shebang at around $2 million. That’s expensive enough to cause pause.

“It’s not funded, and it’s not likely to get funded at its full scope anytime soon,” said DOT spokeswoman Melanie Coon.

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In the meantime, the state is making the green lights last longer along Highway 900 to allow more cars through and is evaluating whether to add a green-arrow signal without a corresponding left-turn pocket or lane. Restriping the road to create a turn lane out of the space already there isn’t off the table yet, either.

Highway 202, where are you?

In case you’re wondering when paving will begin on Highway 202 between Redmond and the Sammamish Plateau, DOT project engineer Brian Dobbins says you’ll start seeing the crews out there in a couple of more weeks. They’ve spent the first few weeks underground, helping to install and connect utilities.

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The entire $70 million project, which will widen three miles of 202 between Highway 520 in Redmond and Sahalee Way, should be done by 2008. It’ll include a new right-turn lane onto Sahalee Way to ease backups for the 27,000 cars and trucks that drive 202 daily.

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