By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — By holiday season next year, if all goes as planned, shoppers and residents alike could have an easier time moving through the area around the Lakewood Crossing retail center.
The city of Marysville has begun construction on a $14 million bridge that will link the opposite sides of I-5 at 156th Street NE.
The bridge will connect Twin Lakes Avenue, which runs alongside Lakewood Crossing, on the west side of the freeway with Smokey Point Boulevard on the east side. No new ramps to or from I-5 are planned, but the bridge will provide another way into and out of the busy Lakewood Crossing area.
The project is scheduled to be done by August.
Overnight lane closures on I-5 are planned on weeknights through Dec. 22. This week, crews plan to move heavy equipment to the median as they prepare to drill holes for bridge pilings. Next week, the actual drilling in the median is scheduled to begin. Drilling is already under way on the west side of the freeway next to Twin Lakes Avenue.
Few, if any, closures will be needed when the bridge decks are lifted into place, said Kevin Nielsen, Marysville public works director.
The shopping center was built in 2006 on the south side of 172nd at the intersection of 27th Avenue NE. The only traffic outlet for the center, and for about 200 homes, is 27th Avenue. Roads to the south stop at dead ends.
Traffic jams at the intersection of 172nd and 27th were especially bad during the winter shopping season the first couple years after the center opened. Turn lanes were added on both streets and an exit-only lane onto I-5 was installed on eastbound 172nd, but backups still abound during the holidays, said JoAnn DeLazzari, who lives nearby.
Between 2006 and 2010, traffic on 27th Avenue NE near the shopping center more than doubled, according to city figures.
In 2006, an average of 602 cars and trucks passed on 27th Avenue NE at peak times on weekdays, Nielsen said. In 2010, the number was 1,433. On Saturdays in 2010, the number jumped to 2,332. Saturday figures for 2006 were not available.
About half of the project is being financed by residential and commercial property owners, many of whom volunteered to do so. The city is paying the other half. Last year, city officials received petitions from property owners asking to pay into a local improvement district. Payments are based on property value.
Several property owners told the city at a hearing last year the bridge would not only help traffic flow, but increase the worth of their property and businesses.
Among those paying the assessment are Powell Development of Bellevue, which built Lakewood Crossing, and Costco, which maintains a store and owns property in the center.
Other property owners objected, saying the tax would be a burden.
DeLazzari, who served on the planning committee of residents, property owners, business people and government officials that came up with the bridge idea, believes the span won’t help much without more freeway access.
It’s possible that ramps could be added in the future, Nielsen said. But that won’t be soon enough for the senior citizens in her mobile home park, DeLazzari said.
“I still am thinking (the bridge) is a terrible waste of money,” she said.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.