In San Juan County, 83% of all vehicle crashes occur with single vehicles and 67% of those involve running off the road, based on crash data from 2001-2011.
In 2011, San Juan County was granted federal safety funds to reduce the severity of these crashes and keep vehicles from leaving the road.
Beginning in mid-September 2013, eight new guardrails will be installed at locations on Orcas and San Juan Islands. Additionally, repairs will be undertaken on guardrails on San Juan Island as the beginning of a new county-wide program.
Public Works analyzed ten years of run-off road collision data and identified areas where numerous vehicles leave the road and go over steep embankments, into bodies of water, and/or roll over. Additional sites were identified with similar characteristics.
Eight project sites were selected for the federally funded guardrail installation program – four sites on Orcas Island and four sites on San Juan Island.
During the Public Works Open House earlier this year, maps of the guardrail locations were presented and signs were installed last March delineating the start and end of the proposed guardrail installation sites.
All guardrails will have steel posts with rails of weathering steel, which look ‘rusty’ and blend in more easily with the surrounding countryside. This type is currently found on many of the existing guardrails in the county.
Reflectors will also be installed on the rail sections to guide motorists at night or in foggy and rainy conditions. The guardrails are to be located toward the back edge of the pavement to preserve as much of the existing shoulder as possible for non-motorized transportation.
The guardrails meet the Washington State Department of Transportation’s standards and will be installed by Columbia River Contractors, Inc. Each site will require approximately two days to install.
A location map with each guardrail site and anticipated schedule is located on the County website
Please be considerate of the construction workers, obey the flaggers and drive safely and slowly through the work zone.