By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Michael Powers of Stanwood writes: With all the new construction going in at the Smokey Point-Lakewood crossing area, the 172nd Street NE (Highway 531) overpass is going to get more congested.
I wonder if there is a plan to have 156th Street NE, where the new bridge over I-5 was recently built, connect westward over the railroad tracks to the streets on the other side.
This would be a tremendous outlet for many people in the area and would somewhat ease traffic to and from the Lakewood Crossing shopping center.
Jesse Hannahs, traffic engineer for Marysville, responds: An elevated crossing at the railroad tracks at 156th Street NE is part of the city’s long-term vision for road improvements in this area.
Alternate routes are likely to be necessary in the Lakewood Crossing area in the future. The construction of the I-5 overpass at 156th was the first step toward the city’s ultimate goal of an I-5 interchange at 156th, more street connections between 172nd and 156th, and a crossing over the railroad tracks to the west.
The next step is to do a study making the case for a new interchange. This study must ultimately be approved by the state Department of Transportation. The city is currently looking at ways to fund such a study.
The interchange is a high priority for the city and a reconnection of 156th Street NE over the tracks would likely be the final step in the plan.
Regarding development, builders in Marysville are required to perform traffic studies and pay for road improvements when the streets can’t handle the volume of cars according to city and state standards. Measures can include new lanes, traffic signals and roundabouts.
Judith Lowell of Everett writes: For many years, the tunnel of Highway 526 (Boeing Freeway) at Seaway Boulevard was a visual delight of beautiful yellow ceramic tiles. Sadly, this is no longer the case. The tiles are grimy with dirt and covered with graffiti.
Many of the visitors to Boeing from around the world travel through this now-ugly underpass. What agency might be responsible for removing the graffiti and grime in this underpass?
Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds:
The transportation department is responsible for maintaining the tunnel from eastbound Highway 526 to northbound Seaway Boulevard, which provides access to Boeing’s Everett plant and the visitor center entrance, as well as many other businesses in the area.
When the tunnel gets dirty, the department brings in its tunnel washer. Maintenance supervisor Todd Jones said maintenance crews will use the tunnel washer to clean the walls, then will follow up to remove any additional graffiti that remains.
Maintenance crews now are on winter schedules to be available around the clock in case of inclement weather. This limits their availability to do this type of work, but the tunnel should be cleaned in the next month, Jones said.
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