Afternoon commuters returning home or heading to the ferry often encounter backups on the Mukilteo Speedway, even though that roadway was widened to four lanes in 2004.
That's why an extension of Harbour Reach Drive -- connecting the Harbour Pointe area to Beverly Park Road, west of the Speedway -- has been on the city's books for 10 years.
The idea of a connector road running through that area has been kicked around even longer.
Mukilteo still doesn't have the estimated $19 million needed to build the road. Now, though, the city has zoned the property it owns along the road's right-of-way so it can be sold and developed.
This could raise some money for design, which would make the city competitive for grant funding, planning director Heather McCartney said.
The city has scheduled an open house for May 9 to discuss the plan.
"It's a good thing that's getting some attention," City Councilman Kevin Stoltz said.
Stoltz, who lives at the north end of Mukilteo, said he runs into the congestion when commuting back into the city in the afternoon.
"It's getting to be a bigger problem than down by the ferry," he said.
Traffic volume on the Speedway between Beverly Park Road and Harbour Pointe Boulevard SW is high for a road of that size, said Meghan Pembroke, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
In March 2007, drivers made an average of 41,800 trips per day through that stretch in both directions, according to state figures. In March 2012, the total was 43,000.
If the Harbour Reach connection were in place, Harbour Pointe-bound drivers heading north on the Speedway could turn left either at Lincoln Way or Beverly Park Road, taking traffic off the Speedway, then go up Harbour Reach Drive.
Drivers headed eastbound on Beverly Park Road could turn left at Harbour Reach. This would provide a huge shortcut compared to going to the Speedway, turning left, driving up to Harbour Pointe Boulevard SW and turning left again, and would take traffic off those roads, McCartney said.
Harbour Reach Drive currently runs north-south along the light industrial area behind the QFC shopping center on the Speedway. It separates that industrial area from the Harbour Pointe Golf Club and residential areas.
At its southern end, it stops at Harbour Pointe Boulevard SW. Connecting it to Beverly Park Road would involve building roughly 3/4 of a mile of two-lane road with turn lanes, McCartney said. The route has it running over the top of South Road, a small industrial access road, with some wiggle room for the exact alignment. Much of the route is open space. Two large buildings built by Boeing in the late 1990s, now occupied by Travis Industries, line the route to the east.
The city owns all the land along the route. It acquired most of it in a deal with Boeing when those buildings went in, McCartney said. A few years ago it bought a chunk at the south end for $900,000, she said.
Under the plan, the property along the east side of the roadway's right-of-way is zoned for light industry and the west side for single-family housing.
The extension would meet Beverly Park Road at 132nd Street SW and Pacific Place, a small cul-de-sac that provides access to about eight homes. The cul-de-sac would have to be realigned; the city has talked to the residents, McCartney said.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
An open house on the city's plans for its Harbour Reach Drive extension right-of-way is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. May 9 at City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way. For more information go to http://tinyurl.com/6mw9la2.
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