Agency foresees reader’s plea for I-5 plants

Question: What plans do the state and the city have for landscaping along the I-5 corridor through Everett after the work is done?

We lost a lot of trees and they should be replaced. Please get rid of the ugly grass and put in native plantings that need little maintenance.

Gene Fosheim, Everett

Answer: The state Department of Transportation has extensive plans for landscaping along I-5 in Everett that include more than 3,300 conifer trees, 1,200 deciduous trees, 22,000 shrubs and many acres of wildflowers, ferns, vines and aquatic plants.

Nearly all of these plants are native to the Pacific Northwest and were selected with ease of care in mind.

The grass that drivers have seen along the freeway over the past few months is used to control erosion during construction.

The new plants will help prevent soil erosion and reduce water pollution by controlling and cleaning freeway water runoff before it gets to streams and the Snohomish River.

Trees and shrubs will also provide a visual buffer between residents and the freeway, offer wildlife habitat and, in some cases, screen headlight glare for opposing traffic.

Work on the new HOV lanes, auxiliary lanes and water treatment facilities in Everett are expected to be completed by summer 2008.

Most of the landscaping will be planted toward the end of the project and our contractor will maintain the new plants for three years until they are established.

Ryan Bianchi, WSDOT spokesman

128th Street slowpokes

Question: Is there a way to put flashing lights or a big illuminated arrow pointing at the speed limit signs on 128th-132nd streets on the east side of I-5?

I have lived in the north side of Mill Creek and constantly have people driving at 35 miles per hour on that road.

They must not be able to see the 45 mph speed limit signs clearly enough because they just got off I-5 where they were doing 75 mph.

I have considered standing along the road with a big arrow pointing to the sign to help.

Ian Stone, Mill Creek

Answer: We do not use flashing lights or illuminated arrows to alert drivers to speed limits.

We occasionally use orange flags on speed limit signs to alert drivers when we lower the speed limit in a certain area, but not for speed limits that have not changed.

While it may be frustrating to drive behind someone you feel is driving too slowly, the majority of people only drive as fast as conditions allow.

I reviewed the location of the 45 mph speed limit sign and believe it is clearly visible to eastbound drivers coming from I-5.

It’s likely that many drivers are traveling below the speed limit in this area because of congestion, delays at traffic signals or drivers turning in front of them.

Mike Swires, DOT traffic engineer for Snohomish County

Get answers

Lukas Velush has been on leave for the birth of his second daughter. He returns to the “Streets” next week. Have a question about traffic or street rules around Snohomish and Island counties? We can help find an answer. E-mail

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