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Published: Monday, March 17, 2014, 1:00 a.m.

Signals create gridlock on 164th

Laurie Heston of Lynnwood writes: “I’m writing regarding all the new development along 164th Street SW and the traffic being generated.

The two traffic signals on eastbound 164th just west of I-5, at Ash Way and the freeway on-and-off ramps, are very close together. It appears there is room to move the easternmost stop line farther east to fit up to six more cars between the two lights.

The current situation creates gridlock for drivers trying to turn left onto westbound 164th from Ash Way, as they are competing with eastbound drivers on 164th, and they often must wait through two or three cycles of the light.”

Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds:

Moving the stop line forward is an excellent idea. The Transportation Department’s intersection at the southbound on-off ramps is about 250 feet from Snohomish County’s intersection at Ash Way. The state and county have worked together to find the best coordination between the two nearby traffic signals.

We know the traffic can become quite congested in such cramped quarters during peak periods. Any adjustment that can fit more cars between the signals would be beneficial. Our preliminary assessment tells us that the stop line for eastbound traffic can be shifted forward, perhaps 30 to 40 feet closer to the southbound ramp intersection.

When we looked at this site we started imagining other improvements. There could be better ways to organize the lane arrangement for turns by eastbound traffic onto the southbound I-5 on-ramp. One option would be to build an island to separate right-turn traffic and eastbound through traffic.

Some of the key considerations relate to wide-turning trucks and pedestrians. Our study will be completed in a few weeks, and we intend to make the changes this summer.

Regardless, the changes will include moving the eastbound stop line forward as suggested, creating at least a little more room for traffic.

Highway 522 ramps closing this week: Monroe drivers who typically use the 164th Street SE ramp to reach eastbound Highway 522 will need to use an alternate route this week. The ramp is scheduled to be closed from 8 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday and 7 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Crews plan to install a new drainage system as part of the work to widen Highway 522 from the Snohomish River to U.S. 2.

Highway 203 repaving scheduled: Highway 203 is scheduled to be repaved this summer, from McDougall Street in Monroe all the way to Carnation in King County.

Survey work begins today, with lane closures scheduled for 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. every day hrough the end of the month.

Paving on the $5.7 million project is scheduled to begin in late spring or summer when the weather warms up. Completion is planned for September.

E-mail us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.

Story tags » MonroeI-5Highway 522Commuting

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