Online open house seeks input on Simdars Interchange design

An online open house begins this week to comment on pre-design work for the U.S. 101 East Sequim Road Project that could complete the Simdars Road Interchange.

The virtual open house begins Thursday, Jan. 27, and runs through Thursday, Feb. 10, according to Dennis Engel, WSDOT multi-modal planning manager.

A link will go live Jan. 27 at and the project’s site at

“We are looking at 14 potential improvements including roundabouts and new U.S. (Highway) 101 on- and off-ramps at the Simdars Road interchange,” Engel said.

“The study will be completed by May of this year with recommendations which will be used to pursue project funding.”

Participants will be able to provide comments as part of the survey, Engel said, and they can be left at the end of the survey or emailed to him or Yvette Liufau, WSDOT senior transportation planner, using their contact information on the project’s webpage.

The Simdars Road Interchange was originally set for completion with the opening of the 4.6-mile U.S. Highway 101 bypass in August 1999, but the eastbound off-ramp was left incomplete due to a lack of funds.

Multiple local agencies and municipalities have worked together looking to complete the East Sequim Project with joint funding requests through the state Legislature for $26 million to build the ramps, construct a frontage road for Palo Alto Road and Happy Valley roads along the highway to the new interchange, and add landscaping to the Sequim entryway.

Municipalities have formally written letters saying that completing the bypass would help economic development in the city’s east side and increase safety for Palo Alto and Happy Valley roads.

In 2019, legislators funded $1.3 million for the Department of Transportation to do pre-design work and community outreach, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engel said this pre-design work does not include planned construction on U.S. Highway 101 at Johnson Creek to increase fish passage. A proposed roundabout in Blyn is not included in the open house either, said City of Sequim leaders.

Completing the Simdars Road Interchange has remained a legislative priority for the City of Sequim for several years.

Sequim City Manager Matt Huish said at the Jan. 24 Sequim City Council meeting he participated in a call last week about the project and that city staff and other local agencies shared “strong verbal opposition” for roundabouts coming into the city on the highway, particularly up hills.

City councilor William Armacost suggested they consider a letter discouraging roundabouts because “we’d have people backed up to the Hood Canal Bridge” with the high amount of truck traffic going through the area.

Mayor Tom Ferrell said a letter is something they’d likely consider in the coming months.

Assistant City Manager Charisse Deschenes suggested the city promote its previous legislative agenda during the process, which includes rerouting Palo Alto Road and Happy Valley Road off the highway rather than inserting roundabouts.