By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Turning left onto U.S. 2 in the city could be a thing of the past.
A long-awaited project to build a bridge over the highway and help drivers heading westbound is starting this summer.
The Washington Department of Transportation has awarded the $22.4 million project to Everett-based Granite Construction. The plan is to build an overpass from Bickford Avenue to westbound U.S. 2.
“We have been waiting for three years,” Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak said. She expects some delays on Bickford Avenue “but I think the safety improvements are going to make it worthwhile.” When the 290-foot bridge is completed, drivers won’t have to dart in front of oncoming eastbound traffic before merging onto westbound U.S. 2.
Drivers who want to head east on U.S. 2 from Bickford Avenue also will get an improved on-ramp.
“This is something that the community has asked for,” Transportation Department spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.
U.S. 2 saw 13 collisions from 2006 to 2010 in that area, including eight involving drivers turning left from Bickford Avenue, according to state statistics.
The state also hopes to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
Almost 42,000 vehicles travel through the intersection daily according to the state. During peak hours, there are about 400 vehicles on Bickford Avenue turning left onto U.S. 2.
The state has combined the Bickford project with work to replace five steel culverts underneath U.S. 2, Pembroke said. By replacing them with new rubberized plastic culverts to improve drainage, the state hopes to reduce maintenance costs and avoid potholes on the highway.
Crews expect to close U.S. 2, from east of the trestle to Bickford Avenue, for six weekends. These closures would start Friday night until Monday morning, Pembroke said. They are scheduled to start as early as July. Drivers would need to use 20th Street and Highway 9 to access U.S. 2 during these days.
The project is being funded by a grant from the state’s Washington Traffic Safety Commission. *
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.