Adding to trestle would be costly

The mail’s been piling up, so let’s get straight to work.

Darren Phillips of Lake Stevens asks: I know that a new westbound trestle is a long way off, but has the state ever considered converting the current westbound lanes into reversible lanes and putting a new westbound trestle just to the north of the current westbound trestle? This would ease traffic congestion for years to come.

Meghan Soptich, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, responds: We know that congestion on the U.S. 2 trestle is a concern for many drivers and we are working to improve traffic flow with low-cost, near-term improvements. This spring opened the right shoulder of the eastbound U.S. 2 trestle to traffic during the afternoon commute. We are also working with local agencies to find ways to improve congestion at the I-5 and Highway 204 interchanges.

Unfortunately, building a new westbound trestle would be extremely expensive and we do not currently have funding for such a project. In addition to building a new trestle, we would have to make changes to the connecting roadways at both ends of the trestle to accommodate reversible lanes. The total project cost would likely be well over $500 million.

Find out more about planned U.S.2 improvements on the state’s Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/ Snohomish/Projects.

Gary Owens of Sultan asks: When you exit westbound U.S. 2 at Highway 9, you get dumped onto a stop sign at New Bunk Foss Road.

To turn toward Highway 9 there’s the stop sign and a designated lane for the left turn.

New Bunk Foss Road also has its own lane coming up the hill west towards Highway 9, and that lane becomes a designated right turn lane to access northbound Highway 9.

Must the traffic coming off U.S. 2 yield to the traffic coming on the right from New Bunk Foss Road even though New Bunk Foss Road has its own lane?

State trooper Keith Leary responds: The drivers exiting off U.S. 2 need to yield, as traffic west on New Bunk Foss Road does not have stop or yield signs.

James D. Chalupnik of Edmonds asks: There are stop signs both ways on 40th Avenue W. at 190th Place SW in Lynnwood. I wonder why, as 190th Place is a dead end street only one block long and doesn’t even cross 40th Avenue, are these signs really necessary?

Les Rubstello, traffic operations manager for Lynnwood, responds: The stop signs were put in at about the same time that the traffic signals were added on 40th Avenue W. at 196th Street SW and at 188th Street SW in the 1990s. The residents in the neighborhood between the two signals were concerned that 40th was being turned into a major arterial. In response, the city tried to minimize speed and volume of traffic by installing stop signs.

Using stop signs as a traffic-calming device is not often the best solution. We know that drivers get very frustrated stopping for cross traffic that is rarely there. The city is now installing and experimenting with other types of traffic-calming devices in neighborhoods throughout Lynnwood. We have or will be installing speed humps, traffic circles, bulb-outs and other such devices in more than 10 locations. The city will analyze data and public input afterward and decide which devices work best.

In the future, the city may consider modifying the traffic signs on 40th Avenue W. We have made similar changes in other areas, however, specific conditions require us to treat these situations very much in a case-by-case manner. As 40th Avenue W. is very narrow, there are fewer options for different traffic-calming devices without a costly widening of the street.

E-mail Street Smarts at stsmarts@heraldnet.com.

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