Adding another I-5 exit lane would be cost prohibitive

Margaret Bright of Lake Stevens writes: Would it be possible, and how much would it cost, to have two lanes exiting from northbound I-5 onto the eastbound U.S. 2 trestle?

There are three lanes already there onto U.S. 2, one from northbound I-5, one from southbound I-5 and one from Hewitt Avenue.

If more lanes were available northbound, it would cut down on cars rushing ahead to get into the exit lane. These drivers cut across the other lanes and impede the flow of traffic coming onto the freeway from 41st Street.

The engineer who designed the present on-ramp to I-5 from 41st and exiting onto U.S. 2 must not drive it.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Having two exit-lanes would require a two-lane off ramp. Building a wider ramp from northbound I-5 to eastbound U.S. 2 would require some extensive and costly changes — not only a wider ramp but one with a higher-speed curve. That construction would likely require ramp closures and traffic revisions, causing even more delays for drivers. Right now, we have no plans to make these changes. The current economic climate allows for very few major construction projects. It’s up to the Legislature to prioritize and fund road projects in the future.

In 2008, we wrapped up a $263 million project to improve traffic flow on I-5 through Everett between the Boeing Freeway (Highway 526) and U.S. 2 (http://tinyurl.com/3c4pvf5).

Widening the freeway with 10 miles of carpool lanes, wider shoulders, new bridges and the new ramps at 41st Street has, in fact, improved traffic flow and reduced collisions for the entire area which includes ramps to U.S. 2 and 41st Street. Without this work, the Everett area would be more congested and that congestion would spill on to U.S. 2.

It’s National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

“See orange, slow down.”

That’s the state Department of Transportation’s motto in asking drivers to remember that orange road cones and barrels usually mean that people are working nearby.

With construction season getting started, the U.S. Department of Transportation and state transportation departments around the nation are dedicating this week to reminding drivers to slow down in construction zones.

The state averages almost 1,000 highway work-zone injuries each year, with rear-enders caused by inattentive driving the most common type collision, according to the transportation department.

National studies show that four of every five work-zone crashes result in injuries or worse to drivers and their passengers, according to the state.

The transportation department will host its annual Worker Memorial event at 10 a.m. Wednesday at its headquarters in Olympia, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE.

Terry Linder, a state transportation employee who was seriously injured in an accident last year while working on Camano Island, is scheduled to speak.

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

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

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