A cyclist, coming from the Centennial Trail, tries to navigate through traffic backed up on Dubuque Road turning onto Machias Road on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A cyclist, coming from the Centennial Trail, tries to navigate through traffic backed up on Dubuque Road turning onto Machias Road on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Changes ‘queued up’ for intersection at Dubuque, South Machias

Snohomish County Public Works is set to begin a study of intersection improvements near Lake Stevens.

After answering a reader’s question last week about an intersection, I’m at the crossroads of another question about busy rural(-ish) roads meeting.

But after this one, I’m holding up the stop sign to further intersection questions. Or at least I’ll wave the yield flag.

Anne Purdy has lived off of Dubuque Road near Snohomish for over three decades. As one can imagine, traffic has increased as the population in that part of the county grew.

“It is especially busy during morning commute times with Centennial Middle School traffic,” Purdy wrote to The Daily Herald. “There have been improvements along Machias Road at the Machias Cut Off and OK Mill Road, and it seems that Dubuque is overdue for improvements as well.”

Purdy proposed a roundabout or traffic circle as the solution to congestion and safety concerns at the Dubuque and South Machias roads intersection, and asked for an update.

Traffic count data from the county supports her theory about more cars on the roads there, at least since 2017. The intersection averaged 11,900 vehicles per day then and saw 13,685 per day in 2021, according to county data.

Purdy is also right that improvements are due, and Snohomish County Public Works leaders agree.

“It’s queued up to be the next thing we do in this corridor,” county Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said.

Staff are about to start early design work with a study of the intersection. It should begin in the next few months, Snyder said.

Intersection improvements have been on the county’s six-year transportation improvement program for a while. The cost estimate attached to the work is over $1.58 million, which could change by the time bids are sought.

“This is all predicated on money,” Snyder said. “We’re going to look under a bunch of rocks.”

Purdy is also correct that the county has done projects in the Machias area over the past decade.

Most recently, in 2020, the county finished its redesigned South Machias Road and Machias Cut Off intersection. The project installed a three-way traffic signal, a crossing signal for the Centennial Trail, a new culvert and some stormwater infrastructure.

In 2015, the county built new sidewalk and a new crosswalk signal near Centennial Middle School.

“In some ways, if you’re looking at a map, we’re making our way south,” Snyder said.

For the Dubuque and Machias intersection, exactly what improvements are proposed is to be determined by the study. It could get a traffic signal, like the Machias Cut Off intersection, a roundabout, or something else that suits the safety and traffic needs there.

The report also could propose phases for the project, which might mean improvements for the nearby Centennial Trail crossing before other work, Snyder said. Currently, the trail-crossing sits a ways east of and at grade for Machias Road. A Herald photographer saw a narrowly avoided collision between a driver and a cyclist there.

The intersection hasn’t been an outlier for crashes reported to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Once the county starts the study, it’s likely to publish a project page to snohomishcountywa.gov/206/Roads-Central, which people can check for updates.

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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