A wider Highway 527 is stalled

By Jana Hill

For the Herald

Highway 527, as known as the Bothell-Everett Highway, is as wide as it’s going to get for now.

A project scheduled this summer to increase the two-to-three lane road to five lanes has been delayed.

The project fell off a list of roadwork in the state because of a $76.3 million shortfall in the widening and mobility portion of the state budget, said Pat McCormick, state Department of Transportation engineering manager for the Snohomish County area.

The delay came as a surprise to Mill Creek officials.

"We never really knew, and I don’t think WSDOT really knew, that this project was at risk," said Jill Marilley, Mill Creek director of public works.

As for when the widening project will start, that date is unconfirmed.

It is tentatively scheduled for next year, or "until funding becomes available," said Dawn McIntosh, project engineer.

The delay will mean the widening project will cost more because of inflation, Marilley admitted.

For now, residents can gaze at not quite a mile of sound walls, textured and adorned with a leaf pattern. That phase of construction is scheduled for completion within the first two weeks of May, McIntosh said.

A sidewalk that was removed between Sweetwater Ranch at 144th and Dumas Road will have to be replaced with something that allows for pedestrian travel, Marilley said.

When the widening phase does begin, it is estimated to be a two-year project. That project will be followed by a landscaping phase.

Some Mill Creek projects were approved with the expectation that the Highway 527 widening would occur. But Bill Trimm, community development director for the city, said the state project would not likely affect any upcoming projects in Mill Creek, including the Town Center.

The city has approved civil construction plans for Main Street within Town Center and developer Buchan Bros. has advertised for bids. Grading and clearing for Town Center should start by the first of summer, Trimm said.

"We’re probably two years in construction" before the Town Center opens, Trimm said.

"I think it would have been great if it would have happened at the same time" as work on Highway 527, Trimm said. That way, traffic impacts could have been endured all at once, rather than stretched out over time.

Jana Hill writes for the Enterprise Newspapers. She can be reached at janahill@heraldnet.com or 425-673-6533.

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