Changes could ease I-405, I-5 merge

Erica Johnson of Everett writes: The merge from northbound I-405 to northbound I-5 is a nightmare. The weaving traffic is hideous and the exit at 164th Street SW is inadequate for what it handles.

I drive this route every day and I am consistently pushed off the side of the road, or traffic slows down to almost a stop to make the merge onto northbound I-5.

Please tell me the state is going to do the same treatment as it did for the Lynnwood ramp project at 196th Street SW.

In a related question, Ron Vetter of Everett writes: I routinely travel from I-405 to north I-5. The offramp from I-405 is two lanes, but after you make the bend to I-5 on ramp, it changes to one lane. There is only one merge sign and that is before the bend. I have had several near misses as the people in the right lane don’t realize they need to merge.

It would be great to have merge arrows on the road or more merge signs.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: This is a busy merge, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hour. Though we currently don’t have any projects funded to widen or drastically revamp this interchange, there are some improvements we can make that should help drivers better navigate the ramp.

In the next few months, we will install a second merge warning sign along the ramp from northbound I-405 to northbound I-5. This summer, our engineers will consider adding merge arrows on the pavement as well, as another reminder to drivers that they should expect merging traffic.

In the longer term, we’ll take a closer look at the merge and possibly change the overhead exit-only sign just beyond the merge to make the 164th exit lane setup clearer to drivers.

In addition, there’s an upcoming project that could have a ripple effect. This will add one lane in each direction of I-405 between NE Sixth Street in Bellevue and Highway 522 in Woodinville, and might convert the existing carpool lane between Highway 522 and I-5 in Lynnwood to an express toll lane or high-occupancy toll lane. That project will also likely revise and improve signing along northbound I-405 approaching the I-5 and Highway 525 interchange area. Work on the project is expected to begin later this year.

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Cathcart Way signal

Jodie Ramsdell of Snohomish writes: I was wondering if there are any plans to put in a signal at Cathcart Way (134th Place SE) and Puget Park Drive south of Snohomish. The backup in the morning for drivers turning left onto Cathcart from Puget Park can be up to 15 cars long. There have been a few accidents at this intersection already, it is just a matter of time before a more serious accident occurs.

Snohomish County engineer Owen Carter responds: Snohomish County uses federal guidelines to determine if an intersection warrants installation of a signal. Our analysis of the intersection of Cathcart Way and Puget Park Drive shows that it does meet the criteria for the installation of a signal.

We then rated the intersection using Snohomish County’s signal priority ranking which looks at factors such as traffic volumes, speed and accidents to compare the intersection with others in the county that also meet the federal criteria.

The Cathcart Way and Puget Park Drive intersection ranked third of 17 other intersections that meet the criteria.

Therefore, I have directed staff to begin design and environmental work for a signal at this location.

We have funding for design but not for purchase and installation, so when it will be completed is uncertain. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

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