Concrete barriers coming to stretch of U.S. 2 at Snohomish

The structures will begin at Bickford Avenue, with the hope of reducing deadly head-on collisions.

SNOHOMISH — Potentially life-saving concrete barriers will soon be placed on a two-mile stretch of U.S. 2, years after advocates began to ask for the structures.

The blocker will start at Bickford Avenue and end east of the Highway 9 interchange, just before South Machias Road.

Construction is scheduled to begin Jan. 4. Crews plan to install the barriers at night and guide traffic as they close one lane at a time.

The concrete barriers will be placed inside a 6-foot-wide median installed in 2019. Rumble strips also were added to each side of the median, to alert drivers when they drift out of their lane and toward the barrier.

The structures will separate two lanes of opposing traffic, where drivers have drifted into oncoming vehicles over the years, resulting in fatal crashes. The speed limit in that stretch is 60 mph.

Every day about 40,000 vehicles travel on this section of U.S. 2, according to the state Department of Transportation.

“In the past three decades, Snohomish County’s population has exploded by 137 percent,” a news release said, “with another 200,000 people expected to move to the county by 2035.”

The segment of U.S. 2 has been designated a safety corridor. That happens only when the community requests solutions to a roadway with a history of safety problems that can be solved with low-cost, short-term solutions, according to the state.

Placement of the initial barriers is estimated to cost about $3.1 million with funding from federal and state sources. Eventually, the barrier is expected to reach Monroe.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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