County, cities given nearly $15M for roads projects

The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board recently awarded nearly $15 million to Snohomish County and nine local cities for various transportation projects.

Topping the list is a $4 million grant that will allow Snohomish County to move ahead with a remake of 35th Avenue SE. The busy arterial is an important north-south route in one of the county’s fastest-growing areas.

“We were pretty excited about getting the grant,” Snohomish County Public Works Director Steve Thomsen said. “East Snohomish County, there’s a lot of building going on to catch up with the housing shortage. The Growth Management Act requires us to better achieve ‘concurrency’ as we develop, which means you’re building roads, schools and parks at the same time you’re allowing homes to be constructed. So 35th is important for us.”

The grant joins an earlier $4 million federal grant and local developer fees to top off the estimated $8.4 million needed to fully fund construction.

Thomsen calls the latest grant an example of how the county leverages local tax dollars.

“We’re able to get a dollar in outside funding for every dollar of tax funds we get in. We’re hoping to keep that up in the future,” he said.

The proposed improvements to 35th Avenue will take place between 180th Street SE and Seattle Hill Road. Improvements include bike lanes, planter strips, sidewalks and stormwater detention and water quality treatment facilities. A continuous center turn lane will be added, and a new traffic signal will be constructed at 156th Street SE.

Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

The grant for 35th Avenue follows a $4 million Transportation Improvement Board grant in 2014 for the county’s Seattle Hill Road project, which is scheduled to break ground in 2017. Planners hope also to gain a grant for a second phase of the 35th Avenue project, which would make improvements from Highway 524 to 180th Street SE.

“We’re trying to build out the whole corridor, from north to south,” Thomsen said.

In all, the Transportation Improvement Board this year awarded $121 million in grants statewide. Funding for the 10 projects in Snohomish County represents 12 percent of that total.

Other local grants:

Darrington: $726,750 toward reconstruction of Riddle Street (from the Mountain Loop Highway to Stillaguamish Avenue), which is 95 percent of the project’s costs. New LED street lights will be added as part of the project.

Edmonds: $2.2 million toward a $7.8 million project to improve the busy intersection of 76th Avenue W and 212th Street SW. This includes creating turn lanes, installing a new traffic signal and adding in bike lanes.

Gold Bar: $234,924 to add a sidewalk along the east side of 10th Street between U.S. 2 and Lewis Avenue. The state grant covers 90 percent of project costs.

Lynnwood: $4 million toward a $14 million upgrade of 36th Avenue W, to refashion the rural road into “a suitable gateway” to what is now a highly urban area. Planners hope to alleviate congestion during busy shopping seasons, when a normal 5-minute drive can take 30 minutes with traffic to and from Alderwood mall.

Marysville: $1.2 million toward a $1.9 million project to widen State Avenue between 100th Street NE and 116th Street NE to four travel lanes plus a two-way left turn lane.

Monroe: $417,726 to repave multiple roads and upgrade sidewalk ramps to current accessibility standards, including along Fryelands Boulevard and Chain Lake Road. The grant covers 84 percent of the costs.

Snohomish: $504,271 to repave portions of Lincoln Avenue and First Street near the downtown core. Work also will upgrade sidewalk ramps. The grant covers 75 percent of the costs.

Stanwood: $590,063 to repave portions and upgrade ramps on Pioneer Highway, Lien Street NW and 270th/271st Street NW. The grant covers 90 percent of the costs.

Sultan: $758,290 to rehab portions of First Street/Gohr Road (from High Street to Willow Street) and Eighth Street (from High Street to the High Street Trail, which was developed as an evacuation route for local schools in case of flood or dam emergencies). Work includes adding sidewalks and storm water drainage facilities. The grant covers 95 percent of the costs.

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