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Public Works Blog

Local effort results in radar signs being installed at Leavenworth bridge

Posted On: December 27, 2017

A group of Leavenworth citizens, concerned about drivers speeding on the Icicle Road bridge, recently pooled its resources together to come up with a community-driven solution.

The group raised nearly $7,000 to purchase two solar-powered radar speed signs that are located at either end of the Cascade Orchards Bridge, the official name of the Icicle Road bridge.

The community group, named the Icicle Road Concerned Citizens, was formed about a year ago to address concerns about the 52-year-old bridge that spans the Wenatchee River and is a gateway to the Enchantment Wilderness Area. The Cascade Orchards Bridge is two lanes wide with a narrow, raised concrete walkway on either side. Among the group’s concerns was that the bridge has blind curves at both ends but no sidewalks leading up to it. The bridge also experiences heavy congestion during the summer recreation months, and the group was concerned that motorists, both local and out-of-town, were speeding over the bridge.

So IRCC reached out to Chelan County Public Works and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. Public works reviewed traffic data in the area and the sheriff’s office set up speed patrols. Together, the county agencies and IRCC worked to come up with a workable and affordable resolution, which pointed toward the installation of the new signs. However, the county’s road budget is used for the preservation of its roads and lacks dedicated funding for safety improvements such as this.  These types of signs would typically be funded by competitive grants.

“Those grant sources are typically used in such heavy pedestrian areas as schools and parks,” said Josh Patrick, assistant director of Chelan County Public Works. “The Cascades Orchards Bridge sign project would have had difficulty attracting any grant-related support.”

That’s where the community group stepped up, raising the funding for the purchase of the signs. Partnering with the IRCC, public works agreed to install and maintain the signs.

Installed in December, the Evolis signs are accompanied by an advisory speed limit of 25 mph and a warning that a narrow bridge is up ahead. As a vehicle approaches, the signs inform drivers how fast they are traveling, shining red for those motorists who are over the speed limit and shining green for those who are at or below the advisory speed.

MaryCarol Nelson, one of the founding members of IRCC, is hopeful the signs will help curb speeding on the bridge.

”We want the signs to make the bridge safer for the drivers and the bikers and the pedestrians – for everyone,” Nelson said.

In the photo: Josh Patrick (left), assistant director of Chelan County Public Works, is pictured with IRCC members MaryCarol Nelson and Alan Whittemore.

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