New I-5 ramps at Marysville wait for funding

Bob DeNeui of Marysville writes: Now that the new Ebey Slough bridge on Highway 529 is nearly complete, are there any plans to build another northbound exit off I-5 directly alongside Highway 529 to the new bridge?

Given the growth of Marysville and the number of train crossings, it only makes sense to ease congestion into the city by being able to directly reach roads east of the tracks. This would reduce the Fourth Avenue backups that go all the way back onto northbound I-5 at exit 199.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Bob’s idea is one that the city of Marysville has considered for some time — and one that’s included in their long-range downtown plan. (Read details of the plan with this column online at www.HeraldNet.com/section/BLOG17.)

Adding a new ramp from northbound I-5 to Highway 529 would reduce the amount of traffic using the Fourth Street-Highway 528 intersection and help reduce congestion in the area. The next step toward planning a new ramp involves creating and submitting a report to the Federal Highway Administration for approval, with the city taking the lead. That being said, there’s currently no funding to complete the research or final report.

John Tatum, Marysville traffic engineer, adds: The location is currently a half-interchange, with an onramp from Highway 529 to northbound I-5 and an offramp from southbound I-5 to the highway. Completing the interchange would involve an onramp from the highway to southbound I-5 in as well as the offramp from northbound I-5.

Completion of these ramps is probably the only project that could alleviate traffic in downtown Marysville from an increase in trains carrying coal to an export terminal in Bellingham, if that plan is approved.

It is the only project that could get traffic from I-5 into south Marysville without crossing a train track. None of the current crossings can be separated from the tracks by an overpass, because of space constraints and other factors.

Michael Day of Monroe writes: I read the recent item about the patches on U.S. 2 between Snohomish and Monroe and agree that there is nothing wrong with them. Other than being ugly they do not affect my car or motorcycle in any way. I think what really needs to be addressed is the lack of lighting and lane markers on U.S. 2 and Highway 522.

On a dark, rainy or foggy evening with a line of cars coming at you it is very difficult to see the lane markings.

Mishler responds: Visibility is an important part of every highway — and lane markings and streetlights are two ways we improve visibility.

On U.S. 2 near Monroe, we repaint the lanes every year. So far, we have completed striping on U.S. 2 and Highway 522 for this year, and have replaced the reflective pavement markers as far east as Sultan. This maintenance is done in stages and we’ll finish our work later this season.

Maintenance crews are working on three street lights at the Highway 522-U.S. 2 interchange and will turn them on in a few weeks.

We use specially designed paint for lane striping; the paint has glass beads mixed in to produce the reflective effect. Some reflectivity from these beads will be lost any time it rains. This is unavoidable. Since we live in a state where rain is almost a daily expectation, drivers must be aware of how rain can affect road conditions and visibility. We remind drivers to adjust speed and behaviors accordingly.

E-mail 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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