Friday, May 6, 2016

Relief in sight for drivers suffering from the #SnoCoSqueeze

By Lisa Van Cise

Traffic was horrendous on northbound I-5 and SR 529 during the afternoon commute this past week.
For those who had no choice but to slog through it, we commend you.
For those who want to know when this headache will come to an end, we have answers.

However you want to describe your Snohomish County drive over the past week, you are not alone and many of us here at WSDOT have been out there with you. Just. Stuck.

First, let's set the scene.

The #SnoCoSqueeze expansion joint replacement project is currently replacing the joints on the left side of northbound I-5 Ebey Slough Bridge. To complete this work contractor crews redirected the SR 529 ramp (which typically merges into its own lane) directly onto I-5. This temporary merge created these terrible backups on I-5, SR 529 and the city streets of Everett and Marysville.

Good news ahead: Dedicated lane for SR 529 merge returns May 10
After this coming weekend work is complete, our hard working contractor crews will re-stripe I-5 to flop traffic to the left side of the bridges. When this happens Monday night, May 9, the SR 529 auxiliary lane will return. That means the Tuesday, May 10 afternoon commute should become less of a bear. For the remainder of the project, SR 529 will have its own dedicated lane to allow drivers to merge onto I-5 without the backups seen this past week

Why is this work happening during the day?
Northbound work occurs during the day (usually about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) behind a safety barrier to allow crews to get a head start on chipping the old joints out. It is time consuming work which is why we are working during the week.

We re-striped I-5 to 3 narrow lanes multiple times throughout this project however the merge of 529 into I-5 has created larger backups than anticipated.

More good news: Project is ahead of schedule
The project is ahead of schedule! By working day and night, our contractor crews will be able to complete the work in seven weekends instead of the original eight.

The remaining scheduled weekends are:
  • May 7-8
  • May 21-22
  • June 4-5

The entire project will be complete June 15.


Vince R said...

Now... just so you realize, this SnoCoSqueeze has impacted traffic patterns east of HWY 9. Every weekend this has been going on, HWY 9 has come to a crawl.. where normal travel times of 1 hour are running closer to 3...

Kind of like what happens in the area around I-405 since GTG was turned on.

Lisa Van Cise said...

Hi Vince,
SR 529 and I-5 aren't the only roads suffering from backups, as you mentioned.
SR 9 and the city streets of Everett and Marysville have also seen the impact.
Thank you for your patience, we know sitting in traffic is never fun.
The good news is, we are in the home stretch of this project. All work will be finished June 16.

Vince R said...

Hopefully we will see a break for the holiday weekend.... and WSDOT will let folks spend less time in traffic and more time with family.

Vince R said...

Still waiting on the relief...

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