Money needed to fix I-5 grooves

Pat Smith of Camano Island writes: I drive I-5 in north Snohomish County every day and the grooves seem to be getting deeper from the constant use.

In some areas, potholes are starting to form. Grooves are also forming in the left lanes (not my favorite lane to travel in because of all the speed demons that want to drive 80). The center lanes are where I notice them the most.

When it rains, the water collects in the grooves and you really have to hold onto your steering wheel to keep from hydroplaning if you change lanes.

The bad areas southbound are from Stanwood to Arlington (exit 212 to 208) and from Smokey Point to Marysville (exit 206 to 198). Going north, they are from Smokey Point to Arlington (exit 206 to 208). This is the stretch where potholes are starting to form.

Any chance of getting them repaired?

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Like Pat, I drive this section of I-5 daily, and have noticed the same grooves. Our maintenance and engineering crews, too, are keeping a close eye on the pavement to make sure it’s in drivable condition.

We hope to repair and repave northbound I-5 between the Smokey Point rest area and the Highway 530-Arlington exit starting in 2015. For that to happen, we have to get funding from the Legislature. Meanwhile, our maintenance crews will continue to keep an eye on the pavement and make repairs as needed.

As it stands, our department currently doesn’t have the money to repair the southbound pavement locations Pat mentioned.

A task force created in 2011 by Gov. Chris Gregoire estimated that it would take another $300 million per year to keep our highways in good condition. In 2012, the Legislature gave the transportation department an additional $3.5 million to fix the most critical problems.

Signal works correctly

Judy Oberg of Everett writes: As you wait in the left turn lane of Glenwood Avenue to turn west on Mukilteo Boulevard in Everett, there are now three traffic lights — one is over the road and the others are over the two crosswalks. There also is a large yield sign. There is no oncoming traffic since Glenwood dead-ends at that point.

What is the yield sign for?

The other day, all the cars were stopped and waiting; all the lights were apparently red. Then it became apparent that the light that faces the dead end (north) was green. There was no pedestrian in view. There is no road there, only a small driveway for one home. Is this light malfunctioning?

Ryan Sass, engineer for the city of Everett, responds: A signal was activated for the small driveway that is technically the north leg of the intersection at Mukilteo Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue to help with sight distance issues. This means that now when northbound Glenwood Avenue receives a green light, the southbound driveway also receives a green light. The yield sign informs drivers on Glenwood Avenue that they must now look for and yield to any oncoming southbound driveway traffic before turning left on green.

Since the southbound driveway has very low volume, most of the time northbound drivers will not see activity from the southbound driveway. The vehicle detection may have needed adjustment, or it may have picked up a pedestrian, bicycle, or animal in the driveway that triggered the event. Our maintenance technicians checked the detection upon receiving your question and it was working properly with no issues.

There is currently a five-second advance green for the driveway since opposing traffic is not accustomed to seeing vehicles in the driveway, which might also explain the condition you described.

Email us at stsmarts@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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