By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
For anyone headed east* on U.S. 2 to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, there’s a way to get around the worst of the traffic backups on the highway.
A colleague here at The Herald who knows the area has shared his secret.
Heading from Everett, take the first Roosevelt Road exit, a soft left off U.S. 2, not far out of Snohomish. The turn-off is a short distance past the turn to Westwick Road-100th Street SE.
After slightly more than a mile, Roosevelt Road veers to the right, back toward U.S. 2. Shortly after this curve, Trombley Road branches off to the left. Turn left onto Trombley. Stay on Trombley for close to a mile until you come to Robinhood Lane. Turn right on Robinhood, which leads to the fairgrounds.
Interesting numbers from the state
Last year, the state saw its lowest number of traffic deaths since 1954.
Also, between 2009 and 2011, travel delay on state highways increased, while vehicle miles traveled held steady. Statewide congestion data for the past five years shows that 2009 was the least congested year for Washington.
Of the state’s bridge structures, 95 percent are in good or fair condition, according to the report. At the same time, an estimated 11 percent of bridge decks are classified as structurally deficient, a 49 percent increase since 2007.
These are a few of the numbers in the latest version of the state Department of Transportation’s Gray Notebook, its quarterly performance report. The 91-page document is divided into categories such as safety, mobility, road maintenance, ferries and the environment.
The latest report includes new features such as a flashier cover with a full-page photo and, on the inside, a focus on the economic benefit of some transportation programs. For example, the state’s Incident Response program, in which vans are sent to help clear the road as much as possible following accidents or stranding incidents, is estimated to have saved travelers and businesses $16.75 million in the second quarter of 2012. This was accomplished by helping the flow of traffic by keeping lanes open and avoiding secondary crashes, according to the report.
Regarding the drop in fatalities, there were 458 traffic deaths in the state last year. This is down only two from 2010 but down from 649 in 2005 — a 29 percent reduction in six years.
No single reason is given in the report for the drop, but details are given about the state’s “Target Zero” safety plan that aims for zero traffic deaths by 2030. The plan addresses the most common causes of fatal accidents, including impaired driving, speeding and running off the road, through education and other measures.
Seat belt use also continues to slowly rise, reaching 97.5 percent last year. Of the people killed in accidents last year, 34 percent were not wearing seat belts.
Other statistics from the Gray Notebook:
The ferry system exceeded its on-time performance goal of 95 percent with 95.5 percent of trips on time in the quarter ending June 30. Ridership for the quarter was above projections and farebox revenue higher than projections.
Amtrak Cascades has seen ticket revenues increase 1.8 percent in the second quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2011, despite recent increases in ticket prices.
The state Department of Transportation employed 6,779 permanent full-time workers as of June 30, 2.4 percent fewer than in 2011.
The Gray Notebook may be found at http://tinyurl.com/c4u443g.
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* Correction, Aug. 27, 2012: This article originally included incorrect directions.