By Brian Kelly
STANWOOD — Highway 532 may need to be expanded from two to five lanes by the year 2022 to handle an expected 60 percent increase in traffic in the rapidly growing Stanwood-Camano Island area, according to a draft study.
That’s just one of the potential solutions to ease traffic congestion in the years ahead.
Other suggestions for improving the flow of traffic on Highway 532 in Stanwood include closing some side streets that give drivers access to the highway, adding stoplights and improving the connections between city streets so local traffic does not use the highway.
On Camano Island, potential improvements could include widening Mark Clark Bridge to four lanes, adding a ferry from Camano Island to Everett and allowing only right turns from some streets and driveways.
Those ideas, and others, are detailed in a draft version of a "route development plan" for Highway 532.
The route plan, prepared by Parametrix, Inc. for the state Department of Transportation, outlines possible improvements for Highway 532 from I-5 to Terry’s Corner.
Transportation officials will have an open house on the draft study from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Terry’s Corner Fire Hall.
"Our objective was to look at the problems from a broad perspective," said Murshed Delwar, project manager for the route development plan. "How we can improve the safety, how we can increase the mobility, access management, right-of-way issues, what we might need for the future right of way, if we need future expansion or inclusion of … bike lanes, pedestrian walking paths, those things. Those were the focus."
It’s the second time an route plan for the highway has been started. A similar study was launched in the mid-1990s, but the 1995 draft report was never finished and the effort was abandoned because of a lack of funding.
The current study centered on the 10-mile stretch of road between I-5 and Terry’s Corner on Camano Island.
The highway — Camano Island’s sole link to the mainland and the major route for Stanwood-area residents to reach I-5 — was originally a dirt road built by Snohomish County in 1935. It officially became a state highway in 1970 and now serves as the primary transportation route for more than 45,000 people who live in the area.
The study itself must be completed and approved by the Department of Transportation, Delwar said. Cost-benefit analyses would then be done on the suggested road improvement projects, which would then be compared and prioritized with projects on other regionally-significant highways. If each road project makes the grade, it then has to wait for funding.
Some of the improvements in the plan, however, are already in the works. Those include a traffic signal and road realignment project at Terry’s Corner, painting and bridge maintenance at the Stillaguamish River Bridge, a traffic signal and related improvements at the Highway 532/102nd Avenue intersection, and the installation of a roundabout at the northbound ramps of I-5 at Highway 532.
You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Highway 532 Route Development Plan
Open house and public meeting 4-7 p.m. Oct. 15
Terry’s Corner Fire Hall
525 E North Camano Drive
The draft plan can be read on the Web at: