Drivers adapting easily to new exit

Shifting from left to right hasn’t been too bad.

So far.

Most people have figured out how to use the new right-hand exit from northbound I-5 to Broadway.

Good job, I say.

The new exit ramp in Everett opened Tuesday. The left-hand exit, in place since the freeway opened nearly 40 years ago, closed the night before. (It’ll reopen later as a carpool exit.)

There have been no major accidents, trooper Kirk Rudeen, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said Friday.

“I’ve heard some good comments on it, where people thinking it’s actually helping,” he said. “I think (the impact of the change) is probably all going to shake itself out over the next few weeks.”

Informal observations of traffic show that most people are exiting on the right just fine, but that there have been some long backups in the right lane, said Victoria Tobin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Ron Lambert of Everett doesn’t like the change.

“We ought to have the head engineer and the mayor out there directing traffic,” Lambert said. “It’s bad now. People are backed up all the way down to the Boeing Freeway.”

From my view, things are working well.

I haven’t seen anyone veer to the right to try to catch the exit. I’ve seen far more drivers in the right lane trying to move left at the last second, suggesting that they haven’t quite figured out that the right lane is now an exit-only lane.

It’ll be interesting to see whether traffic flows more smoothly once people get used to the change.

Question: There was supposed to be a clover-leaf style exit ramp added to the new 172nd Street NE overpass in Smokey Point. This new ramp was supposed to make it easier to get onto southbound I-5.

I work at Smokey Point and see no signs of this ramp being built.

When the gas tax was voted on last November, the pro-gas tax people said the cloverleaf lane would not happen if the gas tax were repealed. The gas tax was not repealed, so where is the new ramp?

Tom Thomen, Marysville

Answer: “The state Legislature in 2005 provided a 16-year plan to take care of some of our most critical transportation needs,” reports Sharif Shaklawun, project engineer for the state Department of Transportation.

“The plan includes adding a two-lane loop ramp connecting westbound 172nd Street NE to southbound I-5.

“Our engineers are currently developing detailed plans for building the loop and other improvements to the interchange. We expect to begin construction in spring 2009.

“The new bridge that we recently completed was funded largely through other state, federal and local sources. It’s an interim solution to traffic and congestion problems on that section of highway.”

Have a question about traffic or street rules in Snohomish and Island counties? We can help find an answer. E-mail The Herald at stsmarts@ heraldnet. com.

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