Thursday, April 11, 2019

New US 2 project frets about possible mistaken identity

Bickford to Gold Bar project has its own major closure, wants out from the shadow of 2018 trestle project

By Frances Fedoriska

Similar names. Same highway. Same type of work. You'll excuse our two paving projects on US 2 in Snohomish County if they're feeling like the Doublemint Twins. Now the newer project, kicking off this spring, is setting the record straight.

"I'm my own project," the Bickford-to-Gold Bar paving project said. "I'm not the trestle. I'm not in Everett. I'm my own thing, and I hope people recognize that."

The US 2/I-5 to Bickford Avenue project that began last year rehabs about three miles of pavement including the Hewitt Avenue Trestle. That will continue into this construction season and it's a big deal. But the new project wants you to know it's no second fiddle.

"Three miles, that's impressive," Gold Bar said. "And no doubt the trestle is a big deal. But look, I'm repaving almost 12 miles of all lanes of US 2 between Bickford Avenue in Snohomish and Monroe. That's three-times as many miles. That's pretty good."

The differences don't stop there. Known by friends as "Bickford to Gold Bar," the project is in the hands of contractor crews from Granite Construction. This spring and summer they will:
  • Remove old, damaged asphalt from all lanes of US 2 between Bickford Avenue and Monroe.
  • Build a 6-foot median separating eastbound and westbound lanes from milepost 3.8 (Bickford Avenue) to milepost 5.85 (near South Machias).
  • Build a 4-foot median separating eastbound and westbound lanes from South Machias to milepost 12.8 (Fryelands Boulevard).
  • Replace two expansion joints and make any necessary bridge deck repairs on the Pilchuck River Bridge in Snohomish.
  • Inspect and make any necessary repairs to the US 2 bridges over French Creek, Farm Road and Woods Creek.
  • Improve intersection crossings along US 2 between Fryelands Boulevard and Cascade View Drive.
  • Rehabilitate the asphalt on SR 9 at the US 2 interchange.
  • Cut centerline and shoulder rumblestrips.
Most work will happen overnight during the week.
Cracks and crevices are on full display on this stretch of US 2.


However, to chisel two 40-year-old expansion joints out of the Pilchuck River bridge, install the new joints, then inspect, make any necessary repairs and repave the roadway, crews will need to reduce the bridge to one lane for up to two weekends this summer, likely late June or September. We're still working on exact dates but expect some significant delays during those weekends.
The two expansion joints scheduled for removal and replacement this year are original to the Pilchuck River bridge.

Flaggers will alternate traffic, but the project knows those weekends won't be easy.

"Look where I'm located," it said. "I don't have any good alternative routes. I could see some major backups so I need drivers to adjust their plans."
The location of the Pilchuck River bridge limits alternative routes. Drivers should alter their plans if
possible to avoid the area during weekend lane reductions or expect massive delays and backups.

What we need from drivers

As soon as we confirm the dates of the Pilchuck River bridge lane reductions, start planning to do what you can to change your travel plans to avoid US 2 during those times. Doing just one thing differently will help us keep traffic moving:
  • Carpool
  • Take transit
  • Move discretionary travel to a non-construction weekend.
  • Travel during non-peak hours. Before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
  • Be a helper. Share this information with friends and family.
  • Stay engaged. We will post the confirmed weekend lane reduction dates on:
This needs to be done

The project understands that this is going to be a challenge for many people, and there's never really a good time for this type of closure. But it knows this stretch of road is also feeling its age and with 200,000 people projected to move to Snohomish County in the next 15 years, we can't afford to wait.
"This stretch of US 2 hasn't been repaved since 1998," it said. "That asphalt only has a lifespan of about 15 years, and with 40,000 drivers taking this stretch between Snohomish and Gold Bar every day, I need some serious TLC."

Thank you in advance

We know there is no good time to reduce a segment of US 2 to one lane, but the alternative is costly emergency repairs that come with little or no warning and could potentially require closing all lanes. We thank you for your continued engagement and understanding of the need for projects like this to preserve and improve our highways to handle the demands of a booming population.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Last years trestle project went so smoothly, I expect more of the same from this crew. They did a fantastic job!

Unknown said...

Why is this project called Bickford to Gold Bar when the description of the work to be done seems to stop West of Monroe? This makes it sound like it's going to stop many miles and 2 towns short of Gold Bar. Is there more to come? Perhaps a solution to the Sunday Sultan Slowdown?

WSDOT said...

The blog focused on the events with the highest impact to the traveling public such as repaving the highway and replacing bridge joints. This work is happening from Bickford Avenue to the Monroe vicinity. Then, from Monroe to Gold Bar contractor crews are installing recessed pavement markers between eastbound/westbound lanes of travel. This portion of the project has minimal impacts to the traveling public.

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