Cities hope for state help, create transportation wish list

  • Fri Nov 11th, 2011 10:35pm
  • News

By Debra Smith Herald Writer

EVERETT — The state budget situation might be dire but that’s not stopping city officials from trying.

They’re compiling a wish list of transportation projects they hope the state will help pay for.

So far, the four projects on the list are focused on improving the movement of workers or goods to and from Everett.

“We’re trying to be mindful of the current economy we are in,” Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “We’re supporting projects that support job centers.”

Those projects include:

•• Turning the shoulder of northbound I-5 into an extra “peak” lane from north Everett to Marysville. It would be used in the afternoon or after a collision when that stretch of the interstate is clogged. The ballpark project cost is $34 million. Most of that cost includes improving the shoulder enough to handle large trucks as well as changes at an interchange in Marysville, said Dongho Chang, Everett traffic engineer.

• Replacing a portion of the U.S. 2 trestle. The westbound half of the trestle is as old as Seattle’s viaduct and officials are worried about how it would hold up in a major earthquake. They’re also concerned about the safety of getting on the trestle on the east end where Highway 204, 20th Street and U.S. 2 come together, Chang said. The first phase of the project would replace just a third of the westbound trestle and the estimated cost is at least $220 million.

• Adding a new ramp onto I-5 southbound at Everett Mall Way. The intersection of the Boeing Freeway, Highway 527 and Everett Mall Way is the worst in the city: It’s the busiest and the site of the most collisions. Right now, people driving north on Everett Mall Way have to go through that intersection to get on the southbound I-5 ramp. The project would instead have drivers get on at the same place as the northbound ramp. That would relieve about a quarter of the traffic congestion. The ballpark project cost is $3.5 million.

• Improving intersections for a designated freight route. The city wants the big trucks moving between I-5 and the Port of Everett to avoid downtown and instead travel along 41st Street, Rucker Avenue and W. Marine View Drive. Many already do but the intersections along that route need to be altered to accommodate big trucks and their big turns as well as super tall loads. The city already has grant and city money set aside for the preliminary engineering work. The cost to make the changes isn’t yet clear.

Everett is working with the county and other agencies to get the projects under the nose of legislators. The hope is to get the projects added to a long-term funding package that might be put out to voters, Chang said.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197;