By Yoshiaki Nohara Herald Writer
BOTHELL — A new segment of eastbound Highway 522 opened for service early Monday, improving access to the University of Washington’s Bothell campus.
Crews worked around the clock over the weekend to connect the busy highway to new straighter lanes, while the two eastbound lanes were closed between Highway 527 and I-405.
“The community was pretty patient with us,” said Patty Michaud, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. “It’s been a hardship for them. We know that.”
The work required drivers to take a detour around the segment of Highway 522. That only caused a minor traffic backup, Michaud said.
“Traffic went a lot smoother,” she said.
The state is working with the University of Washington and Cascadia Community College to build a new entrance to the south side of the Bothell campus. Construction for the $50.7 million project started in April and is scheduled to wrap up in fall 2009.
Improved access to the campus is intended to help the university and the community college attract more students. They expect to increase the number of full-time students from the current 3,000 to 10,000 in about a decade, said Elizabeth Fischtziur, acting director of public relations and communication for UW Bothell.
The new eastbound lanes of Highway 522 are also expected to improve visibility and safety for drivers.
“We are hearing very good things,” Fischtziur said. “Our campus is very excited about continuing progress of the project.”
In October, the state hopes to open a new segment of westbound Highway 522, Michaud said. The work is expected to require shutting down the westbound lanes over a weekend.
Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.