Highway 9 signal changes should improve traffic flow

Richard Quint of Lake Stevens writes: I’m wondering if something could be done about the eastbound Soper Hill Road signal at Highway 9. In the early morning hours of the commute, the vast majority of the traffic going eastbound on Soper Hill Road turns right onto Highway 9. Even though this traffic has its own merge lane, the signal is always stopping the Highway 9 traffic at even a shadow of a car from Soper Hill Road. It’s set up as if the secondary road has the priority light.

Could it be changed so that a car at least has to come to a stop on Soper Hill Road to trip the signal for Highway 9? This creates a lot of unnecessary stops and starts, wasted gas, brakes and time.

Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Our signal operations engineers reviewed the operation of the signal on Highway 9 at Soper Hill Road and made some changes that should help the situation that Richard describes.

We increased the minimum length of the green light for traffic on Highway 9, and also increased how much time the signal waits between detecting vehicles before it changes the signal to green for traffic on Soper Hill Road. This will keep the light green on Highway 9 longer, making it a higher priority.

More Highway 9 news: From today through Friday, one lane in each direction of Highway 9 is scheduled to be closed between 212th Street SE and 180th Street SE in Clearview for drainage and median work. Northbound closures are planned for 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., southbound closures for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day from tonight through Friday morning, traffic is scheduled to alternate using one lane at the intersection of Highway 9 and 180th Street SE for crews to install traffic signal control loops.

Flaggers will control traffic through the intersection.

The state is spending $57.1 million to widen Highway 9 from 212th Street SE to 176th Street SE. Some merchants in the area have complained that the work is restricting access to their businesses. For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/lxjf8sh or http://tinyurl.com/kua7mc7.

E-mail us at streetsmarts@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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