Thursday, December 22, 2011

SR 522/US 2 Interchange Improvements

A drivers-eye view of the new ramp from
eastbound SR 522 to eastbound US 2
By guest blogger Bronlea Mishler

Heading east out of Seattle and Bothell, State Route 522 gives drivers a shortcut to central Snohomish County and US 2. Unfortunately, that shortcut ends at one of the busiest locations on US 2: Monroe. Drivers often get stuck in congestion on both highways, and have to wait through a sometimes-lengthy stoplight to reach US 2. Delays can be especially tough during morning and evening commutes, and during busy summer and winter weekends.

But congested drives and long waits at stoplights could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new flyover ramp that opened at 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Now, drivers headed east on SR 522 can connect to eastbound US 2 via a new direct ramp. The new ramp allows drivers to skip the stoplight and get on to US 2 a half-mile farther east. That means no more waiting at a signal to turn left, and less congestion through town.

About 17,000 vehicles travel through the SR 522/US 2 interchange every day. This new ramp will help smooth traffic flow by giving drivers two options to head east on US 2. The existing loop ramp will remain in place for drivers heading west on US 2 and drivers who want to access local businesses north of US 2 from Kelsey Street. Drivers using the new ramp can access local businesses beginning at Chain Lake Road.

In addition to the new ramp, crews added one new lane in each direction of US 2 – eastbound between Chain Lake Road and SR 522, and westbound between SR 522 and Cascade View Drive. The additional lanes will help improve traffic flow in and out of Monroe.

This is the first phase of a two-stage project to widen SR 522 to four lanes between US 2 and the Snohomish River Bridge. Construction began on the second part of the project in July and is expected to be completed by late 2014.

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