Friday, October 4, 2019

Improvements coming to northbound I-5 between Everett and Marysville

By Kris Olsen

Continuing growth in population and employment in Snohomish County has resulted in more traffic congestion. If you travel between Everett and Marysville you are likely spending more time sitting in traffic and staring at the vehicle ahead of you. Fortunately, we have some good news.

In 2021, we will start construction on extending the northbound I-5 HOV lane to Marysville. Right now, the lane ends near US 2 in Everett. To create the HOV lane, we’ll do a bit of widening, paving, and restriping. When it’s done, we’ll still have the existing three northbound lanes, plus the HOV lane, for a total of four lanes.

Northbound I-5 from Marine View Drive to SR 529 – existing section

Northbound I-5 from Marine View Drive to SR 529 in its current design sees heavy
congestion during and outside peak travel times.

The recommended new design of northbound I-5 from Marine View Drive to SR 529 includes a fixed fourth HOV lane to provide new capacity for transit and carpools while maintaining general purpose access and
an outside/right shoulder for breakdowns or collisions.

Listening to the community
We worked closely with community leaders to review data about this stretch of I-5 as part of the I-5/NB Marine View Drive to SR 529 Corridor and Interchange (I/C) Improvements project. We worked with Snohomish County, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, the Tulalip Tribes, the cities of Everett and Marysville, Community Transit, and the Washington State Patrol to help us choose the best solution for the least cost.

This group looked at many different options to improve traffic. After considering different ideas, analyzing traffic patterns and forecasts, the group determined a permanent HOV lane helps address congestion during the weekdays and weekends, since close to 25 percent of all vehicles traveling this section have two or more people in them.

The new HOV lane will extend from US 2 to SR 529. The project will also improve the I-5/SR 529 interchange in Marysville with new ramps.

Construction of the new lane and SR 529 ramps is scheduled to begin in 2021 with completion in 2022.

11 comments:

Brian said...

Given the congestion through the Tulalip shopping area as well, could this please be extended to SR 530? Congestion drops off north of that point.

The HOV lane should also be added SouthBound from SR 530 to US 2.

debbie said...

NB HOV lanes should extend to Smokey Point!

Compdude said...

First off, I'm glad you guys are going to build an actual HOV lane instead of just the peak shoulder lane that was previously being considered. The freeway needs this extra capacity all the time.

Are bridges across the Snohomish River and the other sloughs going to be widened at all to accommodate the extra lane? Or are you just going to restripe the bridges and squeeze in four lanes? Also, from the cross sections you're showing, it seems like shoulders are just going to be narrowed on the whole stretch of freeway (not just the bridges) to accommodate the extra lane, meaning that road will no longer have Interstate-standard shoulder widths.

Please actually put down some additional pavement instead of narrowing the shoulders and limiting the amount of space cars have to pull over on the side of the road in case of accidents. With wide enough shoulders, you can actually pull off of the road without blocking a lane of traffic. There's a reason why Interstate highway standards have always specified wide shoulders from the beginning.

Unknown said...

Long overdue but why wait until 2021??? Any reason this can't be started in spring/summer of 2020?

mbrockus said...

Are you going to fix the northbound Marysville Exit? Too much crossing of traffic for those on ramping from 529 and those trying to take the exit. Secondly, For I-5 N the Hwy 2 and Marine View on ramps also are a cluster. This is a major safety concern as there are road rage incidents there everyday. One more lane won't fix the issue as you're not taking on the root cause of the issue. That far left lane should be restricted to those traveling north of Smokey Point and not an HOV lane that is just going to be full of HOV violators.

WSDOT said...

Hi Brian and Debbie, thanks for your input. The Legislature directed WSDOT to address congestion between Marine View Drive in Everett and SR 528 in Marysville. Extending the project limits northbound and adding a southbound HOV lane would require Legislative approval and an increase in the budget. Also, cyclists are allowed to travel on the I-5 shoulder north of Marysville so any plans to create more lanes north of Marysville will need to address existing bike laws. The HOV lane will be built in conjunction with new ramps at the I-5/SR 529 interchange. The traffic modeling shows there will be improvements on northbound I-5 all the way to SR 530.

WSDOT said...

Compdude, thanks for your comments. The project will mostly involve slightly narrowing the existing lanes and shifting the striping to create the HOV lane. There may be some minor paving build up shoulders in spots so they can support the weight of traffic. We will be replacing the rails on the bridges to provide more room to restripe those but we won’t physically widen the bridges. As for the shoulders, although the left shoulder will be significantly reduced – we will maintain a 10 foot shoulder on the right side for breakdowns or collisions.

WSDOT said...

Anonymous, as part of this project, we’re also improving the interchange at I-5 and SR 529 in Marysville. By adding a northbound lane, we will affect the configuration of the other three general-purpose lanes as well. The improved interchange and lanes on I-5 need to work together. The interchange design work is underway and won’t be ready for construction until 2021.

WSDOT said...

mbrockus, the project will also complete the interchange at I-5/SR 529 in Marysville to add a northbound I-5 ramp to SR 529 and a ramp from SR 529 to southbound I-5. Our traffic modeling shows that with an improved interchange, the benefits to I-5 should actually extend as far north as SR 530. Plus, cyclists are allowed to travel on the I-5 shoulder north of Marysville, any plans to create more lanes north of that will need to address existing bike laws. You also suggested restricting the left lane to only traffic heading north of Smokey Point. The HOV lane is compatible with the existing HOV system from Tacoma to Everett. Even if we could restrict a lane to through-traffic only, the result would be cars weaving in and out of the lane. Such weaving increases the risk of collisions. Of all the vehicles traveling northbound through this area, 25 percent have two or more people in them. The HOV options provides a system-benefit for the least cost and requires minimal ongoing maintenance.

Regarding the I-5/US 2 interchange in Everett, we are currently evaluating different options for the US 2 westbound trestle and connections to I-5 and Everett surface streets. The information we’re gathering and analyzing is being documented in a report required for every roadway project. It will be used by the Legislature to make decisions about the future of the trestle and interchange. That work is funded separately from the I-5 HOV lane and the interchange improvement project.

Hollyhol said...

Pertaing to the tressell, how do we get access to the report and follow the status?

WSDOT said...

Hollyhol, You can file a public disclosure request for reports and studies. You will need to be very specific as there are multiple studies involving the US 2 trestle, including a funding and financing report and the US 2/SR 204/20th Street SE interchange justification report (IJR). An online summary of the IJR is also available.

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